On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement indicating that Italy permanently halted exports of arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio expressed that this act is a sign of Italy’s commitment to human rights.
Many human rights groups praised this decision. Recently, The Italian Peace and Disarmament Network has started a campaign against Italian arms export. Upon the block decision, the group said the export of at least 12,700 bombs would be stopped. The Group also stated that the blocked sales were part of the deal signed in 2016 under former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s administration, covering the sales of 20,000 missiles worth approximately $485 million.
Earlier this week, the US administration had announced the temporary suspension of military deals, which foresee sales of 50 F-35 jet fighters to the UAE and ammunition to Saudi Arabia.
In 2018, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte promised to end arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of its involvement in the Yemen Civil War and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Italian statistics from 2019 regarding arms exports show that Saudi Arabia and the UAE rank 10th and 11th in this field.