Italy’s recent ban on sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. over their involvement in the Yemen War will block the export of over 12,700 bombs to the gulf countries.
The blocked ammunition was part of a total allotment of 20,000 missiles worth €400 million agreed on by the former Matteo Renzi government, Italy’s Peace and Disarmament Network, a campaign group, said.
Director-General of the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC), Ali Sofra, claims Saudi and its allies dropped over 3,100 cluster bombs on Yemen since 2015.
“Today I am announcing that the government has revoked the authorisations under way for the export of missiles and aircraft bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This is an act that we considered due, a clear message of peace coming from our country. For us, respect for human rights is an unbreakable commitment,” Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Friday.
Italy had imposed an 18-month suspension on the export of weapons to the two nations. The latest move will make these restrictions permanent. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi ranked 10th and 11th in the list of biggest Italian arms importers in 2019. They bought €105.4 million and €89.9 million worth of military equipment respectively.
It “puts an end, once and for all, to the possibility that thousands of ordnance manufactured in Italy could strike civilian facilities, cause casualties among the population or contribute to worsening the already serious humanitarian situation,” the campaign group said, calling the move historic.