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G8: Support and agreement on the incident involving Italian marines, says Terzi – Concrete proposals on counter-piracy

“My G8 colleagues offered their full comprehension and support for the principles that Italy has stated unequivocally regarding this situation”, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi in the margins of the G8 ministerial meeting in Washington, in the context of which he had raised the issue of piracy. “I referred explicitly to the question of our marines being detained in Kerala and of the ship the Enrica Lexie, which is still in the port of Kerala with its military personnel aboard”, Terzi said, explaining that, in raising the topic during the meeting at Blair House, he had underscored how the problem of piracy constituted “a growing threat to navigation with an extremely high economic cost, that by now can be quantifiable in hundreds of millions of dollars annually but is, above all, an enormous risk to persons: to the sailors and others working on board merchant ships”.

“It was my wish to raise this issue”, the minister continued, “and to underscore in particular the concerns of the Italian government on the level of the interpretation of jurisdiction that is being made, in the particular case of India, incorrectly as regards respect for the sovereignty of the country whose flag those ships are flying, not only regarding those ships but also the military personnel on board to protect them”.

Suggestions and concrete proposals

The minister added the emergence [during the G8 foreign ministers meeting in Washington, editor’s note] of “suggestions and concrete proposals for international counter-piracy collaboration” aimed at improving NATO and EU naval operations and those individual ones of the Arab countries, China and Russia”. Suggestions and proposals necessary “to better coordinate and maintain direct relations on intelligence aspects in the control of financial flows resulting from these illicit activities”, the minister explained during his speech today at the opening of the G8 meeting, stressing the economic and security fallout from such phenomena.

Bilateral meetings with Clinton and Lavrov

The “hot” topics of the G8, i.e. the situation in Syria and Iran, as well as the incident involving the Italian marines in India and its link with the fight against piracy, were the central focus of Minister Terzi’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The former two were also points of discussion with his Russian colleague Serghei Lavrov. The two ministers also reviewed relations between Italy and Russia and the busy agenda of contacts between Rome and Moscow planned for the coming weeks. Terzi and Lavrov also spoke about Afghanistan, ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago scheduled for May, confronting the theme of security during the country’s transition. Terzi also reiterated Italy’s position on the theme of counter-piracy.