British-supplied BL-755 cluster munitions have admittedly been used in Yemen by Arab Coalition member states, however,there has been an adamant confirmation that coalition military forces will no longer use them, Britain’s defense minister Michael Fallon said on Monday.
Fallon said Britain had not supplied Saudi Arabia with the cluster munitions since 1989 and that the country signed the convention on cluster munitions in 2008.
“However, Saudi Arabia has now confirmed that it will not further use BL-755 cluster munitions and I welcome that.”
“The coalition confirmed earlier today that a limited number of BL-755 cluster munitions exported from the United Kingdom in the 1980s were dropped in Yemen,” he told parliament, adding that the Saudi government said they were used against a “legitimate military target”.
The Arab Coalition is a military intervention in Yemen seeking to bolster and anchor the constitutionally elected government back to power, after militias either backed by Iran or loyalists supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have sought an armed putsch.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Coalition said that “the BL-755 cluster munitions used sometime between December 2015-January 2016 in the vicinity of Al Khadra in Yemen, the Coalition Forces Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen, would like to make the following clarification:
“It must be recalled that international law does not ban the use of cluster munitions. Some States have undertaken a commitment to refrain from using cluster munitions by becoming party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nor its Coalition partners are State Parties to the 2008 Convention, and accordingly, the Coalition’s use of cluster munitions does not violate the obligations of these States under international law.”