Italy has blocked 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.

Iran PressEurope: "This is an act that we considered necessary, a clear message of peace coming from our country. For us, the respect of human rights is an unbreakable commitment," Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in a statement on Friday.

Humanitarian groups hailed the decision as historic, as it will determine a complete blockade on weapons sales to the Gulf countries.

The Italian Peace and Disarmament Network, a coalition of organizations campaigning against Italy's weapons sales, said the move would stop the supply of at least 12,700 bombs.

In 2018, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had pledged his government wanted to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of its involvement in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We are very satisfied," said Democratic Party's lawmaker Lia Quartapelle, commenting on the move. "The network against the use of weapons and catholic associations have turned the spotlight on violations of human rights in Yemen for a while."

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden also issued a temporary pause to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as his administration reviewed the exports.

"This common vision helps us improve a new dialogue with the US to manage the relationships in the Mediterranean in a more balanced way," Quartapelle said.