Italian PM calls Manmohan Singh over marines issue

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday on the issue of two Italian marines facing trial for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast.

"PM receives a telephone call from PM Monti of Italy on issue of marines," external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

Monti had called External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Friday after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone.

Khurshid had said last month after the return of the two marines from Italy that India had assured Italy that the marines would not face the death penalty if they return by the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Home Secretary R.K. Singh said Monday that India will honour its assurance given to Italy.

The home ministry handed over the case to the NIA, which has filed a first information report (FIR) before the designated special NIA court.

Sources in the NIA said the agency would not press for a death sentence against the marines.

The two marines, on board Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie, had allegedly shot dead the Indian fishermen Feb 15 last year suspecting them to be pirates.