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Mar 31, 2013 at 05:42pm IST

Not a 'scapegoat' in quitting over marines issue: Former Italy FM

Rome: Giulio Terzi, who quit as Italian foreign minister over Rome's decision to send two marines back to India to face trial for killing Indian fishermen, says he does not "feel like a scapegoat" over his surprise move to resign to oppose his government's u-turn on the issue. Terzi resigned on March 26 after the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were sent back to India on March 22 to be tried for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year, in a flip-flop after Rome had said they would not return after being allowed to come home to vote.

Rome returned Latorre and Girone after getting assurances from New Delhi that they would not face the death penalty for allegedly shooting two Indian fishermen while guarding Italian oil tanker 'Enrica Lexie'. Referring to his resignation, which stunned Premier Mario Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano, Terzi denied "feeling like a scapegoat" over his move, 'ANSA' news agency reported.

"By resigning, I wanted to show a sign of confidence, motivation, strength and pride in my colleagues at the foreign ministry, who work in difficult conditions," Terzi said, adding top ministry brass had called on him to quit in a show of opposition to the government climbdown. "I have always taken responsibility for my actions," the 66-year-old leader told the 'Rete4' channel.

Not a 'scapegoat' in quitting over marines issue: Former Italy FM

Giulio Terzi resigned on March 26 after the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were sent back to India on March 22.

Earlier, Monti had said Terzi resigned with motives not just limited to the marines issue. In his resignation announced in Parliament, Terzi had said, "I am resigning because for 40 years I have maintained, and still maintain, that the reputation of the country, the armed forces and Italian diplomacy, should be safeguarded."

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