ROME - Italy has lifted an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the government said in a statement following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Military equipment exports to Saudi Arabia had been restricted in 2019 and 2020 to prevent their being used in the Yemen conflict. But the embargo is no longer necessary "in light of the changed situation" on the ground, the government said in its statement, praising Saudi Arabia's recent peace mediation efforts.

Yemen has been mired in conflict since the Iran-aligned Houthi group ousted the government from Sanaa, the capital, in late 2014. A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in 2015 aiming to restore the government.

Peace initiatives have seen increased momentum since Riyadh and Tehran in March agreed to restore diplomatic ties severed in 2016.

Italy said its decision on Saudi Arabia was "in line" with last month's lifting of another arms embargo imposed on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also linked to the war in Yemen.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Leslie Adler)