Italy has again raised the issue of its two marines facing trial in India with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, whose office said that the UN’s position of resolving the issue bilaterally "remains unchanged".
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni raised the issue of the two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen off Kerala in 2012 with the UN Secretary General on March 18 during his visit to Rome.
While the UN provided a readout of the meeting in Rome between Ban and Italian leaders, including President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, it did not say whether the issue of the Italian marines with India was raised by Italy.
Ban’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed to reporters at the daily briefing here yesterday that Gentiloni had raised the issue with Ban but added that the UN Chief s position remains unchanged.
He was asked to comment on Gentiloni seeking "fresh intervention" from Ban to resolve the long-standing issue.
"I can confirm, yes, the Foreign Minister did bring that up. But, regarding our stance on the issue, you’ve heard what we had to say about this particular dispute between Italy and India, and our position remains unchanged," Haq said.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, Gentiloni asked Ban "to consider a fresh intervention" on behalf of Italian marines held in India for over three years on shooting of the two Indian fishermen.
During talks in Rome, Gentiloni told Ban the case of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone was "very significant" for Italy.
Ban has maintained that the case of two Italian marines being tried in India for killing two fishermen should be resolved bilaterally.
"It’s better for the question to be addressed bilaterally, rather than with the involvement of the UN," Ban was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA in February last year.
Ban had expressed concern that the "longstanding" matter between Italy and India "remains unresolved" and was prompting tensions between two "friendly and important" UN members.
Ban’s spokesperson had said last year that the UN Chief feels it is important that India and Italy "seek to come to a reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution" over the issue.