UAE evicting Italian aircraft, personnel in 'revenge move' over arms embargo

UAE evicting Italian aircraft, personnel in 'revenge move' over arms embargo
The UAE is evicting Italian military presence from Al Minhad air-base in response to an arms embargo.
2 min read
27 June, 2021
The UAE is evicting an Italian aircraft and military personnel from the Al Minhad air base [Getty]

The United Arab Emirates is evicting an Italian aircraft and personnel from a key military base in response to Rome imposing an arms embargo on Abu Dhabi in January.

Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defence commission, told Defense News that Italy had been given until July 2 to evacuate the Al Minhad air base in the UAE.

"The pull-out has already started and while work is underway by Italy to secure a last-minute cancellation of the eviction, I doubt it will succeed," he said.

"When relationships break down in the Gulf it is very hard to resurrect them," he added.

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Former Italian air force chief Gen. Leonardo Tricarico told Defense News that the last Italian aircraft had left the base on Thursday, leaving only residual material to collect.

"The UAE has also denied the use of its airspace to Italian military aircraft,” he said.

Tensions escalated when Italy in January revoked approval for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the conflict in Yemen, making permanent an 18-month temporary suspension.

"Today I am announcing that the government has revoked the authorisations underway for the export of missiles and aircraft bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said at the time.

"(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," he added. 

He did not mention Yemen but referenced the conflict there when he ordered the initial suspension in July 2019.