Today, Tuesday, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates in Rome, after his country refused to allow an Italian military plane to fly in its airspace.
The Secretary-General of the Ministry, Ettore Seke, expressed to Ambassador Omar Obaid Al-Shamsi, “Italy’s great disappointment with this unexpected behavior, which is difficult to understand,” according to a ministry statement.
The C-130 aircraft – belonging to the Italian Air Force – was transporting journalists and military personnel to Herat (western Afghanistan), to participate in the ceremony of the withdrawal of Italian forces from this country.
As a result of the Emirati refusal, the plane was forced to stop in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and then take a longer route, thus arriving late for the party, which was delayed to allow the participation of passengers from the plane from Rome.
The ceremony was also attended by the Italian Defense Minister, Lorenzo Guerini, and senior military officials who traveled on another plane. Italy was the third largest participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission in Afghanistan, with about 900 soldiers.
The UAE decision came after Italy finally withdrew, last January, permissions to export missiles and bombs to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, due to the participation of these two countries in the Yemen war.
The war in Yemen since 2014, has witnessed bloody confrontations between the Houthis and the forces of the internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, in which the UAE participates.