The Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and the Iraqi government have signed an agreement that resolves the long-running dispute over two corvettes that Baghdad ordered in 1980.

The two Assad-class corvettes Musa Bin Nussair (F 210) and Tariq Bin Ziad (F 212) were handed over to the Iraqi Navy in 1986, but were still in Italy when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The subsequent imposition of a UN arms embargo on Baghdad ensured the ships remained at the Italian Navy’s La Spezia base with skeleton Iraqi crews since that point.

The Italian Embassy in Baghdad, which facilitated the negotiations, announced on 15 May that Fincantieri and the Iraqi government had reached “an agreement that paves the way for closing the protracted dispute.” It also said the shipbuilder would modernise the two corvettes, which are 62.3 m long and have a full-load displacement of 680 tonnes. […]