Yemen’s Houthi rebels have welcomed an Italian decision to suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"Italy's announcement of halting arms sales to the countries that are engaged in an aggression on Yemen is a positive move,” rebel spokesman Mohamed Abdel-Salam said on Twitter.
He said the move would “contribute to protecting [Yemeni] civilians and support the peace process”.
On Friday, Italy's Foreign Ministry announced blocking exports of arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, following warnings by activists and lawmakers about the use of weapons in violation of human rights in Yemen.
There was no comment from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on the Italian decision.
The move came days after new US President Joe Biden issued a temporary pause to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE pending review.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of a Saudi-led bloc that launched a massive air campaign in 2015 to roll out Houthi military gains, one year after the Iran-aligned rebel group overran much of Yemen, including capital Sanaa.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara