UNITED NATIONS —
The U.N. secretary-general says the situation has changed "drastically" in the Central African Republic and he is recommending that the Security Council authorize a U.N. peacekeeping force to protect civilians and restore stability.
In a report sent to the Security Council on Monday, Ban Ki-moon recommends that up to 10,000 military personnel and 1,820 police be quickly deployed.
An African-led mission, known as MISCA, of some 6,000 troops is already in C.A.R. working alongside 2,000 French forces trying to quell violence between Christian and Muslim militias.
The fighting has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, with more than half the country's population in need of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, nearly a million people are either internally displaced or refugees.
U.N. military forces would "progressively draw down as quickly as conditions permit," allowing the U.N. to focus more of its efforts on civilian and state-building tasks.
The force would require a robust mandate, including protection of civilians, support to the political process, help in the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the restoration of state authority throughout the country.
Switching from an African Union force to one under U.N. auspices would have additional benefits, including a singular chain-of-command for troops, reliable funding and more equipment.
The secretary-general said it will take the United Nations about 6 months to prepare the deployment of its operation. It is expected that many of the African peacekeepers currently in the MISCA operation will be "re-hatted" with the U.N. blue helmet by September 15 as part of the U.N. mission.