1st LD: UN Security Council endorses mission for Central African Republic
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved the African Union's (AU) International Support Mission in the Central African Republic ( MISCA) to protect civilians and provide security in the violence- ridden nation, tottering on the brink of anarchy.
The French-sponsored measure, authorizing the use of force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, also allows participation of troops from France, the former colonial power, which in recent months dispatched hundreds of troops to help restore order in the poverty-stricken central Africa nation.
The resolution was approved as there were reports in recent days about heavy gunfire erupting in Bangui, the national capital of the Central African Republic, causing many deaths.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month that as many as 6,000-9,000 troops may be needed in the central African country. Currently there are about 2,500 AU troops and several hundred French forces there.
The measure also opened the eventual possibility of turning the AU forces into a blue-helmeted UN peacekeeping operation.