Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Italian government announced in a statement that it has removed the embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Previously, there were restrictions on military equipment exports to Saudi Arabia in 2019 and 2020, aimed at preventing their utilization in the Yemen conflict. However, the government stated that the embargo is now deemed unnecessary due to the “changed situation” on the ground. The statement further commended Saudi Arabia for its recent endeavors in peace mediation.
Yemen has been mired in conflict since the Iran-backed Houthi group ousted the government from Sanaa, the capital, in late 2014. An Arab-led military coalition intervened in 2015 aiming to restore the government.
Peace initiatives have seen increased momentum since Riyadh and Tehran in March agreed to restore diplomatic ties severed in 2016.
Italy said its decision on Saudi Arabia was “in line” with last month’s lifting of another arms embargo imposed on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also linked to the war in Yemen.