Pope Francis urges ‘respect’ for Yemen truce accord

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Pope Francis on Sunday called for urgent “respect” for a ceasefire accord in Yemen to allow humanitarian aid through in the conflict-weary country.

“I appeal to all parties concerned and to the international community to allow the urgent respect of established accords to ensure the distribution of food and to work for the good of the population,” said the pope.

“I am following the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with great concern,” he added.

The pope was speaking before embarking on a historic three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula.

The first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula marks an effort to boost the Vatican’s outreach to Islam.

Pope Francis, who has made strengthening ties between the two largest religions a cornerstone of his papacy, was due to arrive in Abu Dhabi later Sunday.

He was to have talks with the UAE crown prince on Monday and hold an open-air mass for 135,000 worshipers on Tuesday.

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