UN General Assembly president John Ashe has said that he will try and raise with India the issue of the two Italian marines, who are being tried for killing two Indian fishermen, during his three-day visit that begins on Wednesday.
Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister Angelino Alfano met Ashe here on Monday and “briefed him on the situation” of the two-year-old case of the marines.
“In response, president Ashe informed the minister that in the course of his imminent state visit to India, he will be on alert for whatever opportunity presents itself to raise the issue,” a statement issued by Ashe’s spokesperson said. Ashe will visit India from March 19-22, during which he is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid.
Alfano also briefed the president of the General Assembly on issues of priority for Italy, including enhancing efforts to counter terrorism and human trafficking.
Alfano had also met UN chief Ban Ki-moon, but according to information provided by the office of Ban’s spokesperson, there was no mention of the issue of the Italian marines and their trial in India during Ban’s meeting with Alfano.
The marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, sparking diplomatic tensions between India and Italy.