After Saudi Arabia admitted last month it used illegal U.K.-made cluster bombs in Yemen recently, the U.K.'s defense secretary has admitted 500 cluster munitions were delivered to the kingdom in the late 1980s.
Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the weapons were sent between 1986 and 1989.
“The U.K. delivered 500 BL755 cluster munitions under a government-to-government agreement signed in 1986. The final delivery was made in 1989,” Fallon said in a letter to Conservative Member of Parliament Philip Hollobone, The Guardian reported.
The U.K. has faced a barrage of criticism for these actions, including accusations of its complicity in war crimes and calls for the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, especially as the U.K. is a signatory to an international treaty that bans the use of cluster bombs.
The prime minister of Yemen has also accused the U.K. of war crimes for supplying arms to the coalition conducting military operations in the country.
Andrew Smith, a spokesman for the Campaign Against Arms Trade, told The Guardian, “The use of U.K. cluster bombs by Saudi Arabia is characteristic of a brutal war and a brutal regime. If Saudi forces are prepared to use cluster bombs, then why is the U.K. continuing to arm and support the regime?
“Once a weapon has left these shores there’s little if any control over where and when it will be used and who it will be used against," he continued. "The U.K. must act now to stop the arms sales and to end its complicity in the humanitarian catastrophe that has been unleashed on the Yemeni people.”