Amidst a diplomatic row between India and Italy over the fate of two Italian marines, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a peaceful resolution to the issue.

Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, charged with murder for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year in an anti-piracy operation, were permitted by India’s Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks for voting in last month’s election.

Relations between Italy and India were further strained on Monday when the Italian government announced that marines Latorre and Girone would remain in Italy and not return to India to face murder charges after being allowed to come home to vote by the Apex Court.

Mr. Ban’s spokesman told reporters on Wednesday that the Secretary-General has called on both countries to resolve their issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.

The Supreme Court had allowed the marines to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini had given an assurance to send them back.