A displaced girl at a camp in the Khokha district of Yemen's western province of Hodeida. Photo: AFP

The Dutch general leading the United Nations mission in Yemen warned the Saudi-backed government and the Houthi insurgents on Sunday that a seven-week ceasefire in the flashpoint city of Hodeida was fragile and urged them to ensure that their commanders on the ground maintain the truce.

Patrick Cammaert met with government representatives and Houthis aboard a vessel anchored in the port of Hodeida on Sunday for talks aimed at making sure the ceasefire holds.

The talks are to continue on Monday, a UN statement said, describing the meeting as “cordial and constructive.”

The meeting was held to address problems in implementing a deal reached in Sweden in December that calls for a ceasefire in insurgent-held Hodeida, a withdrawal of forces from the port city, and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

Cammaert “warned the parties about the fragility of the ceasefire and urged them to instruct their commanders on the ground to refrain from any further violations that would jeopardize the Stockholm Agreement and the broader peace process for Yemen,” the statement said.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis called for urgent “respect” for the ceasefire accord to allow humanitarian aid through.

“I am following the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with great concern,” the pontiff said, before leaving for a historic three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The Red Sea port of Hodeida is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imported goods and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions in the Arab world’s poorest country.

This is the third meeting of a joint committee on implementing the deal, which has been described as a major step toward ending Yemen’s devastating four-year conflict.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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