PM Singh to meet Italian PM, may discuss issue of Orissa abducted tourists, Kerala fishermen killings

   Mar 24, 6:52 pm

New Delhi, Mar.24 (ANI): During his three-day visit to South Korean capital Seoul, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is expected to have a pull aside meeting with his Italian counterpart Mario Monti.

According to sources, the two Prime Ministers are likely to discuss and take stock of the latest developments related to the abduction of two Italians in Orissa, as well as progress being made in the case of the arrest of two Italian security personnel for the killing of two fishermen last month off the coast of Kerala.

The two Italians-Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo-were taken hostage last week in what is believed to be the first time the rebels have targeted foreigners.

On Saturday, the ultras kidnapped an Orissa MLA J. Hikaka from a different region of the state.

Two rebel-appointed negotiators have since suspended talks with state government officials.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that the Maoists have to desist from violence for the talks to progress or make a forward movement.

As far as the arrest of the Italian marines-Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone-in Kerala is concerned, India and Italy do still retain a difference of opinion on the incident that took place late last month.

Italy's Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura have visited Delhi to meet the Indian leadership in the hope of resolving an issue that could impact friendly ties between the two countries if there is a stalemate for too long.

Italian diplomats have been sent to Kerala along with legal teams to fight the case in courts.

The contention of the accused who have been slapped with a murder charge is that Kerala police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond the Indian territorial waters.

The two accused are in police custody in Kollam district.

The naval crew has claimed that the fishermen were killed on suspicion of being pirates.

The Indian Government terms the Maoists the main internal security threat of the country, and an obstacle to higher growth and more jobs in Asia's third-largest economy.

Hundreds die annually in the conflict, although levels of violence have fallen in recent years. (ANI)

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