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Mar 28, 2013 at 09:01am IST

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

New Delhi: Italy's Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi resigned on Tuesday in protest over his government's decision to send the marines back to India to stand trial for the killing of two fishermen in Kerala. The marines issue did not just rattle India-Italy ties, but have also managed to shake up Mario Monti's government.

The foreign minister who, 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 Italian Foreign Minister resigns over decision to send marines

"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.

A seasoned diplomat, and now Deputy Foreign Minister, Mistura has been proactively handling this case as Monti's special envoy. And unlike Terzi, Mistura didn't shy away from admitting many mistakes had been made in the way the case was handled.

In Rome, within minutes of Terzi's dramatic announcement, his rival in the Cabinet, the Defence Minister, was taking a swipe at him. "I know what Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, looking me in the eye, said on the night of March 21. (They said) 'Don't abandon us'. I won't abandon the ship," Giampaolo Di Paola told parliament.

Meanwhile, Terzi won't be missed in India and South Block is not even too surprised by his exit. Like India, Italian politics is divisive, its opposition unforgiving and the government weak.

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