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Servicemen – ruling on jurisdiction postponed, but Italy insists it’s ours

The Indian court’s decision on jurisdiction in the case of two Italian servicemen will have to wait another week, but Italy insists that jurisdiction is ours. At the end of the High Court debate on Italy’s request, legal sources reported that the judge had reserved the right to pronounce his ruling next week, while the hearing on the release of the ship the “Enrica Lexie” was postponed to Friday. Italy’s position on the question has always been the same: jurisdiction is Italian, as foreign ministry spokesperson Giuseppe Manzo explained during the customary press briefing.

Regarding the abduction of Italians Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, Manzo announced that “at this moment Consul General Joel Melchiori is meeting with the Minister for the Interior of the State of Orissa”. Manzo also pointed out that, in a telephone call with his Indian colleague Krishna, Minister Giulio Terzi had stressed that, as far as Italy is concerned, “the safety of our fellow nationals is an absolute priority”. Manzo also reported that the Indian authorities had activated an “emergency cell, a sort of crisis unit” with the local authorities, police and interior ministry to monitor the case.

Minister Terzi’s agenda for the week was also outlined. His first meeting, on 20 March, is in Brussels for a reflection forum on the future of Europe, arranged by the German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, where he will be assisted by Under-Secretary Marta Dassù.

On Wednesday 21 March, Terzi will meet at the foreign ministry in Rome with the deputy foreign minister of Myanmar/STRONGurma. “This will be the first high level meeting”, Manzo explained, since Myanmar’s initial signals of openness, and is “important to the future development of relations”, beginning with the elections to be held there in the spring, and ahead of “the possible Italian visits being planned for the region”. On the same day the minister will see the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Malta, Tonio Borg, discussions with whom will centre on the Mediterranean, regional stability and the Arab spring.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague will arrive in Rome on Thursday 22 March for a round of talks within the context of Britain’s “very close relations” with Italy. Agenda items will include Somalia, piracy, Syria, North Africa, in addition, naturally, to the question of the death of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara in Nigeria during a British special forces blitz. London, Manzo explained, has expressed “great willingness to shed light” on the incident.

Also on 22 March, Terzi is scheduled to participate in the opening of the ministerial conference “ASEAN Awareness”, whose goal is to give Italian firms a chance to learn about investment opportunities offered by a Southeast Asian market with 600 million potential customers. The forum will continue on the 23rd and discussions will include infrastructures, consumer goods and industrial competition. Participants will include representatives of 10 countries and Confindustria. The initiative is a follow-up to Terzi’s recent visit to the region.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council will be held in Brussels on Friday the 23rd, where the main points of discussion will include international concerns such as the Syrian situation, the question of Belarus and sanctions against the regime. Serbia will participate in the Council’s enlarged format, for the first time since it gained Candidate status, something that “Italy is very pleased about”, having bee one of the main supporters of Belgrade’s membership in the EU.

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