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  • In a historic first for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis arrived to tour the Arabian Peninsula on February 2, 2019.

    In a historic first for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis arrived to tour the Arabian Peninsula on February 2, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 February 2019

The Yemen peace talks took place on the deck of a UN-chartered ship anchored in the Red Sea Sunday.

Pope Francis is urging the international community to support the Yemen ceasefire accord for the welfare of the children and those in need of resources, the pontiff said Sunday from Abu Dhabi.

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“The people are exhausted by the long conflict and many children are hungry, but humanitarian aid isn’t accessible. The cry of these children and their parents rises before God,” the pope said during a historic first visit to the Arabian Peninsula.

“I appeal to the interested parties and to the international community to urgently encourage compliance with the agreements reached, to ensure the distribution of food and to work for the good of the population,” he said.

The Yemen peace talks brought representatives from opposing sides to the neutral environment of a UN-chartered ship anchored in the Red Sea Sunday.

The United Nations is overseeing the implementation of a ceasefire and troop withdrawal accord in Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports, in the hope it will lead to a political solution to the almost four-year war.

The warring parties were meant to withdraw their forces by Jan. 7 as part of efforts to avert a full-scale assault on Hodeidah, but have failed to do so as the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and the Saudi-backed government disagrees on who should control the city and ports.

Sunday’s meeting was the third time the U.N.-led Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) convened since it was formed in December, bringing together the Houthis with the Saudi-backed, internationally recognized Yemeni government and U.N. mediators.

According to statements, despite some delays, the U.N. is optimistic that progress can be made and peace achieved, provided that international powers such as the U.S. and Saudi military do not interfere with the peace process.


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