UN chief 'very disappointed' by Yemen truce failure

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon speaks next to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on June 15, 2015 during a press conference in Geneva (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon is "very much disappointed" by Yemen's failed ceasefire but was clinging to hope that the fighting might still be halted, his spokesman said Monday.

A UN Yemen truce aimed at delivering desperately needed aid to millions threatened with famine failed to take hold Saturday as clashes and Saudi-led coalition air strikes persisted against Huthi rebels.

The six-day ceasefire came into effect just before midnight Friday, but fighting between the Iran-backed Shiite rebels and fighters loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi hit several areas while coalition strikes targeted rebel positions.

"The secretary general is very much disappointed that the humanitarian pause did not take hold over the weekend," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that "we continue to reiterate our call for an unconditional humanitarian pause."

"We have not lost hope and discussions are ongoing," Dujarric said.

He also defended the UN's decision to call the ceasefire.

The UN's Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed "had received the commitments he felt were necessary for us to come out with this announcement," Dujarric said, adding that it was "incumbent on all the parties involved to abide by those commitments."

Dujarric said that the envoy had contacted Saudi officials and that Hadi had assured that he would accept the truce and inform the Arab-led coalition of his support.

The UN is "continuing our contacts at different levels," Dujarric said.

On Monday, Saudi-led warplanes bombed Yemeni rebels who clashed with pro-government fighters in the country's south, while medical sources said 10 civilians were killed in pre-dawn raids on the capital Sanaa.