The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has urged Italy to withdraw its aircraft and personnel from a military base in the Gulf state by July 2, according to Reuters that was informed by an Italian government source.
Negotiations were ongoing, according to the source, to try to resolve the issue
A request for a response about the issue from the UAE’s foreign ministry was not returned.
Italy, a NATO member, has used al Minhad airbase hosting aircraft from numerous nations for flights to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the Indian Ocean as part of multinational operations.
In January, Italy announced that it has blocked the sale of thousands of missiles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, citing Rome’s commitment to restoring peace and preserving human rights in Yemen.
The demand for a withdrawal was made in retaliation for the arms embargo, according to Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defense commission, as reported by Defense News earlier this week.
Italy’s foreign ministry summoned the UAE Ambassador to Rome earlier this month, according to news agency ANSA, when the Gulf state refused to allow access to its airspace to a military aircraft carrying 40 journalists to Afghanistan, where Italy’s defense minister was visiting at the time.
According to the ministry statement, Ambassador Omar al-Shamsi was informed of Rome’s “surprise and strong displeasure at an unexpected gesture that is hard to understand.”