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Italian Deputy Foreign Minister meets MEA officials, satisfied with fishermen killing probe

New Delhi, Fri, 24 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb.24 (ANI): Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura on Friday met senior Ministry of External Affairs officials, including Secretary (West) M.Ganapathy, and expressed satisfaction with the Indian Government's handling the investigations related to the killing of two Kerala fishermen by Italian marines.


Briefing media about the meeting, MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said: "The Italian minister expressed satisfaction on the progress in Kerala. The Italian Foreign Minister (Giulio Terzi) will arrive on Tuesday for further discussion."


Earlier, de Mistura thanked the Indian and Kerala governments for their hospitality and briefings.


"I wanted to thank the Indian authority for their hospitality and briefed them about the meeting with the CM. I also thanked Indian lawyers who are working on the defence side. Allowing Italian forensic experts is a good sign," de Mistura said.


"We are very much concerned about the militaries of both the countries. Finally, we are expecting the Italian Foreign Minister to come on Tuesday. We hope the incident is behind us and the relationship between the country remains the same," he added.


Meanwhile, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Kerala Police is likely to carry out a search of the Italian ship Enrica Lexie for weapons on Saturday, including those allegedly used by naval guards in the killing of two Indian fishermen, in the presence of ballistic experts from that country.


"We expect by tomorrow we will be able to search the ship in the presence of the two ballistic experts from Italy," Kochi Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar, who is heading the SIT, told reporters here.


The Italian government has requested the presence of their technical experts during the search, seizure and examination, he said.


Asked if the two arrested marines-Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, will also be taken to the ship during the search, Kumar said such details could not be revealed.


Italian Consul General in India, Giampaolo Cutillo, who was also present, said in order to have some Italian representation at the time of examination and seizure of weapons, a team of two technical officers is expected to reach here by Saturday morning.


A court in Kollam, which had permitted the police to seize the arms, on Thursday accepted the Italians' plea seeking presence of their representatives during the search and ballistic examination.


The Italian government is reportedly happy the marines, presently under police custody, are being treated "very well.


The ship is berthed outside the port area, and was brought to the oil terminal on Friday for enabling the search operations. (ANI)


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