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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Mistakes made by both sides, says Italy's dy foreign minister

PTI  New Delhi, March 23, 2013
First Published: 21:45 IST(23/3/2013) | Last Updated: 13:32 IST(24/3/2013)

Asserting that "mistakes" were made by both sides, Italy on Saturday said India should have realised from the beginning that Kerala judges did not have jurisdiction over the case involving the two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen.

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Italy also indicated it could have "perhaps" been falling into an agenda related to Kerala politics.

"...Instead of saying where they (India) made a mistake, (I would) rather say what we could have done better.

"We should have been able, at the beginning, to realise that Kerala judges were, in fact, as the Supreme Court has indicated, the wrong place to handle an extremely complicated case," Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate programme.

He said the issue of jurisdiction with regard to Kerala court should have been settled much earlier.

"We would have been able to find some formula much earlier... There was a feeling that perhaps there was a strategy for prolonging this," he said.

Asked if he felt that Italy was being lured into a trap, he said "no. We could have been perhaps, falling into an agenda, of Kerala-related political environment, which is human..."

He said Italy got emotional as it was waiting for eleven months for the judgement to come.

"We too have families. We too, like you, trust our military should be defended when they are on duty," he said.

Stressing that the suspension of the assurance given by its ambassador to the Supreme Court was "painful", Mistura said the breakthrough in the 11-day impasse came after assurance from India that death penalty "would not be applicable".

Defending Italy's initial decision not to send back their marines even at the cost of diplomatic breach of assurance, Mistura said death penalty was unacceptable and became an issue for the Italian government when the Supreme Court talked about setting up of a special court to try the soldiers.

He stressed that the special court should be "fast, quick, expeditious".

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