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Yemen's Ansarullah welcomes Italy’s decision to block arms exports to Saudi Arabia, UAE

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement denounce the United States and former US president Donald Trump administration's decision to apply the “terrorist” designation to the popular movement in the capital Sana’a, on January 25, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has praised Italy’s decision to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which have been waging a devastating war on impoverished Yemen for years.  

“Italy’s announcement to stop selling weapons to countries that launch aggression against Yemen is a positive step, which contributes to protecting civilians and supporting the peace process,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the Ansarullah spokesman, wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page late Friday.

Earlier Friday, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said, “Today I am announcing that the government has revoked the authorizations under way for the export of missiles and aircraft bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

He added, “[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.”

Italy’s Peace and Disarmament Network, a campaign group, hailed the move as “historic” and said the move would stop the supply of at least 12,700 bombs.

It “puts an end, once and for all, to the possibility that thousands of ordnance manufactured in Italy could strike civilian facilities, cause casualties among the population or contribute to worsening the already serious humanitarian situation”, the group said.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden paused arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as part of his administration review of the exports.

Amnesty International welcomed the US move, calling on European countries to follow suit and end weapons exports to the two countries involved in a devastating military campaign against Yemen.

“President Biden’s decision to freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE represents a welcome relief in an otherwise shameful chapter of history. Almost six years of conflict in Yemen, fueled by irresponsible arms transfers, have left 14 million Yemenis in dire need of humanitarian assistance,” Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said on Thursday.

“The suspension of arms sales by the US is a step in the right direction and ups the pressure on European countries, most notably the UK and France, to follow suit and stop fueling the human misery in Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crushing the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to the UN, 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people need some form of aid or protection. About 13.5 million Yemenis currently face acute food insecurity, UN data shows.

The popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, backed by the Yemeni armed forces and allied popular groups, has gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and successfully defended Yemen against the Saudi aggression, leaving Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the county.

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