The United Arab Emirates has announced it will be evicting Italian aircraft and personnel from a key military base, in retaliation for an Italian arms embargo slapped against the UAE that was announced by Rome in January as a result of the Emirati role in the military aggression against Yemen.
Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defence commission, said that Italy had been given until July 2 to leave 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 told Defense News.
“When relationships break down in the Gulf, it is very hard to resurrect them,” he added.
Former Italian Air Force chief, General Leonardo Tricarico, told Defense News that the last Italian aircraft had already left the base on Thursday, leaving only residual material to be collected.
According to Defense News, the UAE action could undermine the withdrawal of Italian troops within the framework of a NATO pull-out from Afghanistan.
Rome has used the Emirati base to support international operations in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean.
Italy announced an arms embargo against the UAE in January, effectively halting all Italian weapons export to the Emirates in protest against the role of Abu Dhabi in the invasion and occupation of Yemen.