UK admits British-made cluster bombs were used in Yemen
UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has confessed that British-made cluster bombs were used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, after it was alleged that the kingdom had admitted in private to using them.
The statement was made on Monday evening, over six months after the UK ministry of defence promised to investigate a report by Amnesty International that alleged that UK cluster bombs had been used in the bombing of Yemen.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Fallon conceded that the Saudi-led Arab coalition had confirmed that a "limited number" of BL-755 cluster munitions exported from the UK in the 1980s were used in airstrikes.
Kate Allen, Amnesty International's UK director, said prior to the statement that the admission would not be a "bolt from the blue" and reiterated Amnesty's call for a halt in arms sales to the kingdom.
"The reality is that Amnesty and others have been reporting on Saudi Arabia's use of UK cluster munitions in Yemen for months" she said. "Back in May, we revealed how the Saudi coalition had been using British-made cluster bombs in their attacks near Yemeni villages and farms in the north of the country".
Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a war against Yemen's Houthi rebels since March 2015, in an effort to reinstate the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
During the course of this intervention the kingdom has been accused of various war crimes, including for the bombing of schools, hospitals and the killing of numerous civilians, including hundreds of children.