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Italy seeks help from United Nations in marines case

Urging Ban Ki-moon to assist in pressing Indian to move quickly

19 February, 19:00
Italy seeks help from United Nations in marines case (ANSA) - New York, February 19 - Italian representatives to the United Nations on Wednesday raised the issue of two Italian anti-piracy marines held in India at the highest levels, sources said.

The meetings in New York were aimed at reinforcing Italy's concerns about delays in the case with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who had previously suggested it was a bilateral issue.

The sessions came on the same day that Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that she is also urging the president of the European Parliament to intervene in the case, to increase pressure on the government in New Delhi.

"I wrote to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, urging his intervention in the case," Bonino said earlier in the day.

Bonino said that it was "important to involve colleagues from other countries," such as Schulz in pressing India to move rapidly on the case.

The marines are accused of killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.

Italy has been seeking support internationally in the case and last week, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton raised the issue with Ban.

Ashton and other EU officials have said that the case has serious implications for all anti-piracy missions.