On Monday, during the Council of Ministers held in Palazzo Chigi, the government of Giorgia Meloni lifted the ban on arms sales to the United Arab Emirates: it had been introduced starting in 2019, mainly to counter military activities in Yemen, where from 2015 to 2019 the UAE had supported Saudi Arabia in the war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The war, from which the UAE withdrew in 2019, has turned into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.
In the statement released at the end of the Council of Ministers, the Meloni government said it had decided to lift the ban on arms sales to the United Arab Emirates both because their military commitment in Yemen had ceased and because there seem to be promising signs of reaching a some peace agreement to end the war. The government also cited the funds allocated in recent years by the United Arab Emirates for the stabilization and reconstruction of Yemen, continued in 2022 with 500 million euros and a commitment, last November, to allocate the equivalent of almost another billion euros over the next three years.
The arms export agreements with the United Arab Emirates had been partially suspended by the first government of Giuseppe Conte in 2019, only to be revoked in January 2021, during the second Conte government. In July 2021, during the government of Mario Draghi, the ban on arms exports to the UAE was relaxed, with small arms lifted but not heavier weapons such as missiles and bombs.
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