Outlining the reasons for sending back to India the two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast, the outgoing Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said Rome faced a serious risk of being isolated internationally and could have opened a crisis of “serious proportions” with New Delhi.

As for the abrupt resignation of his Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Mr. Monti said he quit with motives not limited to the marines issue.

The Premier, who himself was sworn in as interim Foreign Minister to replace Mr. Terzi, said Italy, in its diplomatic row with India, risked ruining relations with key trade allies in the developing world but denied that economics was a factor in the decision-making process. Mr. Monti said he was “stunned” by Mr. Terzi’s decision, adding his former chief diplomat gave no warning of his quitting. PTI

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