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Mar 28, 2013 at 09:17am IST

Business interests considered while sending back marines: Italy PM

New Delhi: Italy's Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had resigned over the government's decision to return the two marines to India to stand trial for killing two Kerala fishermen. Reacting to the resignation, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said, "The Foreign Minister resigned without discussing with the government. Italy had to protect its honour and dignity. It was not right to arrest the marines in India. But there was no secret agreement made between the Italian with Indian governments and business interests were involved."

Terzi, on Friday, had justified his government's turnaround, changed his tune in Italian parliament just three days later. He claimed he was against sending the marines to India but was overruled by his government and was, therefore, resigning.

ALSO SEE It wasn't my decision to send back marines, my voice went unheard: Italian ex-foreign minister

"My reservations had no impact and the decision was not mine. My voice went unheard," Terzi said. Many believe Terzi's deputy Staffan de Mistura was instrumental in changing Prime Minister Monti's mind.

Meanwhile, reacting to Terzi's reaction, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "On the Italian foreign minister's resignation, I am sorry that he has left office. I had a very good working relationship with him, I do understand it would be a difficult decision because there is enormous public pressure as indeed there is enormous public pressure in India. But I think it was important that we do what was the right thing in both in principal and in international law."

ALSO SEE Italian Foreign Minister resigns over decision to send marines

In the wake of the Italian marines case, the Union Shipping Ministry has issued guidelines for armed guards on ships. The ministry says it does not endorse the use of armed guards on merchant ships, but ships can deploy such personnel on board if essential. It has advised ship owners to conduct background-checks on maritime security companies before employing them.

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