February 3, 2019 / 11:27 AM / 9 months ago

Pope says following Yemen crisis with 'great worry'

Pope Francis leads a Holy Mass during the 23rd World Day For Consecrated Life in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, February 2, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, who will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, said he is following the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with great worry and urged all sides to respect international agreements and ensure food reaches suffering Yemenis.

“The population is exhausted by the long conflict and many, many children are suffering from hunger but they are not able to get to food deposits. The cry of these children and their parents rises up to God,” he told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square during his regular Sunday address.

“I appeal to all sides involved and to the international community to urgently press for respect of the agreements that have been reached, to guarantee the distribution of food, and work for the good of the population.”

“There are children who are hungry, they are thirsty, they don’t have medicine,” he added.

The UAE has played a leading role in the Saudi-led military coalition waging a nearly four-year war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen in a conflict which has pushed the poorest country on the peninsula to the brink of famine.

Francis will becomes the first pontiff to set foot on the Arabian Peninsula and is due to make two public addresses.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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