We requested that the Indian government proceed with bilateral consultations in pursuance of the Convention on the Law of the Seas, only to receive a negative response, repeatedly curt and negative. The conditions, therefore, of the written commitment to return the marines had completely changed. We consequently informed our international partners, who fully understood our motives, and the Indian government, and at that point a new phase began, a phase that permitted the Italian government to force them to spell out the exact conditions for the marines return to India.
When, in recent hours, over the past two or three days, we realised what these conditions were, the Italian government was informed of the willingness of the two marines, of their personal commitment and great sense of responsibility to the State, to return to India, and I proposed to the government that this take place within the framework of a system of assurances that was then provided to the government. This essentially involves three fundamental points: the complete safety and personal freedom of our servicemen; the guarantee that the court appointed could in no way judge them for crimes involving the death penalty; and the assurance that the issue of our ambassador’s diplomatic immunity would be definitively resolved.
A final point concerns the reactivation of dialogue with India on international arbitration.
I trust that this renewed climate of serenity in relations between our two nations will manage to disentangle a series of situations, particularly that of arbitration. Ban Ki-moon has urged Italy and India to comply with the principles of international law. It is interesting to note this appeal by Ban Ki-moon, since it finds Italy in the right on the fact that this is a dispute to be resolved according to international law and not in accordance with Indian law.