British defence secretary Michael Fallon has seen government analysis indicating that UK-made cluster munitions were used by the Saudi-led coalition in the current conflict in Yemen, sources have told the Guardian.
It is understood the government’s own investigations back up media reports that such cluster bombs have been deployed in the war, in which Britain is helping to train Saudi forces. Fallon is among the ministers to have known about the analysis for about a month have still not been given definitive confirmation. Ministers in the past have said the government does not possess any evidence that such weapons have been deployed and suggested that cluster bombs remnants found could have been from a previous conflict in the region.
The UK is a signatory to a 2010 international treaty banning the use of cluster munitions. The weapons leave mini-bomblets that can explode much later, killing civilians. The Cluster Munitions Convention commits the UK to disposing of all cluster munitions and working to prevent their use by anyone else. Saudi Arabia is not a signatory.