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FM to meet UN human rights commissioner on marines

EU foreign minister to raise matter with UN Secretary-General

13 February, 15:01
FM to meet UN human rights commissioner on marines (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, February 13 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told parliament Thursday she would be meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Navi Pillay, in Geneva over the issue of two Italian marines facing terrorism charges in India for allegedly murdering two fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in February 2012.

The government "initiated contact" with the OHCHR on Tuesday concerning the fact that servicemen Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone had still not been charged after two years in which their freedom has been restricted. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon subsequently defined the matter as a "bilateral issue", sparking anger in Italy amid warnings of future participation in anti-piracy missions if the question is not adequately resolved. The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, would raise the matter with Ban Ki-moon during a meeting on Friday, Bonino said. Earlier Bonino expressed her "great bitterness and perplexity" over the UN chief's position, saying "it is not a question of a disagreement between two UN members but of a critical mass of countries raising a matter of fundamental principle".