Italy says will block weapon exports to Turkey

FILE PHOTO: Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured) in Rome, Italy, October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio confirmed on Tuesday that Rome will ban arms export to Turkey, after Ankara launched a military attack against Kurdish fighters in the northern part of Syria.

“The solution to the Syria crisis must be diplomatic not military,” he told parliament.

European Union countries agreed on Monday to limit arms exports to Turkey over its offensive in northern Syria, prompting condemnation from Ankara, even as they stopped short of a bloc-wide embargo against a NATO ally.

Di Maio said an EU-wide embargo on arms sales would have taken months to organize.

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, editing by James Mackenzie