Britain exported 500 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s which may have been used in the current war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, an official report shows. The munitions are now banned under international law.
It is the first time the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed how many of the British-made devices have been exported to Saudi Arabia.
In a letter to the Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, seen by the Press Association, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The UK delivered 500 BL755 cluster munitions under a government-to-government agreement signed in 1986. The final delivery was made in 1989.”
Fallon said the UK had not been able to carry out any surveillance of the weapons until 2008.
Last month, Fallon said although the UK had not supplied such weapons to Saudi Arabia since 1989, a “limited number” of cluster munitions from the UK were being dropped by Saudi-led forces in Yemen.
The defense secretary said he had asked the Saudis to destroy their remaining stock of UK-supplied cluster munitions, to which they reportedly agreed.
He told a House of Commons inquiry he did not know how many had been exported, but was satisfied the use of the bombs had not breached international law.