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Marine asks Italian politicians to show unity

Rome, March 27, 2013 (IANS):

One of two Italian marines who face homicide charges in India has urged Italian politicians to show a united front on their behalf.

"Right now, it doesn't help us to know who to blame, because it doesn't lead us anywhere, and political parties bouncing responsibility off each other is even less useful," Massimiliano Latorre wrote to a journalist, Toni Capuozzo.

"What we ask for now is not division, but that they link arms, join forces and resolve this tragedy," ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.

The two marines, Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were sent back to India Friday after a two-week diplomatic tug-of-war between the two countries exacerbated political tension within Italy.

Italy had announced the servicemen would not return to India after they came home to vote in last month's general election. This prompted the Indian Supreme Court to order the Italian ambassador to New Delhi not to leave the country which, in turn, led to Rome to make a U-turn and send the servicemen back.

The handling of the affair prompted former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to blast outgoing premier Mario Monti for doing "everything wrong" and call for him to be stripped of his status as Life Senator.

Mediaset said Latorre's email would be read out in its entirety on Monday night's edition of its Terra! show.

The Italian foreign minister has quit in disgust over the issue of sending back the marines to India to face charges of killing two Indian fishermen who they thought were pirates.

The Indian Supreme Court first allowed the two marines to return to Italy to celebrate Christmas. They flew back to India. But when they went back a second time to vote in elections, Italy said they won't return.


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