Will stay in Kerala till issue resolved: Italian minister

Thiruvananthapuram, March 6 (IANS) Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura, currently in Kerala, Tuesday said he will only leave after sorting out the issues surrounding the arrest of two Italian marines for allegedly shooting two Indian fishermen.

Mistura made the statement to an Italian TV channel here Tuesday.

The minister also told the channel that he was unable to say if he would meet Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Asked why he tried meeting up with the family of Gelastine, one of the killed fishermen, he said it was to extend his condolences. Though Mistura had tried to visit the family, they had refused to meet him.

On the two marines — Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone — currently in the prison, he said that their morale is high. and on reports of they are likely to be moved out of the prison, he said that is for the local police to decide.

Massimillano and Girone were on Feb 20 sent by a court to 14 days judicial custody. This was later extended twice by seven days each. They were being kept in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guest house in Kochi, and later at Kollam before Monday being sent to a jail till March 19.

Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead Feb 15 by the marines, on board cargo vessel Enrica Lexie, off Alappuzha in Kerala.