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French weapons not used against Yemeni civilians, says minister

Thomas Samson, AFP | French Defence minister Florence Parly attends the national tribute to military doctor Captain Marc Laycuras, at the Invalides, in Paris, on April 8, 2019.

French weapons are not being used against civilians in Yemen, France’s armed forces minister Florence Parly told Radio Classique on Thursday.

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Investigative website Disclose reported this week that French arms, including tanks and laser-guided missile systems sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, were being used in the Yemeni war against civilians.

“To my knowledge, French weapons are not being used in any offensive in the war in Yemen. I do not have any evidence that would lead me to believe that French arms are behind the origins of civilian victims in Yemen,” Parly said.

Disclose based its report on a classified note from France's military intelligence service saying that French-made weapons, including artillery, tanks, ships and fighter-bomber jets, "may have been used to commit war crimes".

The French media nonprofit said the report was given to President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting of a restricted defence committee held at the presidential office in October.

Entitled "Yemen: security situation," it details the positioning of French-made weapons in the conflict. "It demonstrates that hundreds of thousands of civilians live under the threat of these arms, and provides information that allows us to demonstrate that some of these weapons may have been used to commit war crimes," Disclose said. "The French government is today aware of the risk of this," it added.

The Saudi-led coalition has fought Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015 in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

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