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UN wants no role in Italian marines’ case in India

United tions, January 6: UN Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon’s spokesman has refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding the two Italian marines facing trial in India over the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast. The spokesman’s refusal to comment on Monday came amid reports that the Italian prime minister has asserted that a “direct channel” had been opened with New Delhi raising hopes of a settlement. Asked by a reporter if Ban had recently taken any initiative in the issue or if he still considered it a bilateral matter between India and Italy, the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said, tersely, “I have nothing to add to what he’s already said on the issue.” Despite several high–level requests by the Italians to intervene, Ban has maintained that “it’s better for the question to be addressed bilaterally, rather than with the involvement of the UN,” according to reports in the Italian media. Ban’s statement made in February last year was similar to comments made on his behalf by spokesmen in 2013 and last year. Reports from Rome said Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told a year–end press conference last week that a “direct channel” had been opened with India and that it has raised the the possibility of resolving the almost three–year–old issue. The Italian news agency, ANSA, reported that Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said, “India, a friend and ally of Italy, has in recent hours opened a direct channel of discussion, with statements that we’ve appreciated.” ANSA added that according to Renzi India’s statements about the case may indicate a new opening for resolution. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita

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