Row over investigation into Iraq shooting

Italy is unhappy with American investigators’ plans to clear US troops of any responsibility in the killing of an Italian security agent in Iraq last month, Italian newspapers reported today.

Italy is unhappy with American investigators’ plans to clear US troops of any responsibility in the killing of an Italian security agent in Iraq last month, Italian newspapers reported today.

The reluctance of Italian members of the investigation to accept the Americans’ conclusion into Nicola Calipari’s death is holding up a joint report into the incident, the Corriere della Sera and La Stampa newspapers reported.

Another point of contention was American authorities’ refusal to allow Italian investigators to examine the car Calipari was travelling in when he was shot, the reports said.

The Italian Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the reports.

Calipari was killed on March 4 by a US patrol on the road to Baghdad airport as he escorted a freed Italian hostage, Giuliana Sgrena. Another intelligence agent and Sgrena were wounded in the incident, which outraged Italy.

The joint commission includes two Italian members. Ordered by Washington, it is led by a US brigadier general was expected to release its findings by mid-April.

Italy agrees that the shooting was an accident, but disputes key elements of the US account. It has denied a US claim that the car was speeding and refused to stop following warnings from the US patrol.

However, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini insisted during a visit to Washington this week that Italy and the US had shown excellent cooperation in the investigation.

Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Fini said any statements prejudging the outcome of the investigation would be a mistake.

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