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    UN Proposes 12,000 Peacekeepers for C.A.R.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has proposed creating a nearly 12,000-strong peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic, where sectarian violence is spinning out of control.

    In a report Monday to the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Ban said the proposed mission would focus on protecting civilians, restoring governmental authority, disarming fighters and ensuring access for humanitarian aid.

    He told reporters in Geneva that the plan addresses "urgent priorities and needs" in a country with an "alarming crisis."



    "The horrific cycle of violence and retaliation must end immediately. The United Nations is fully committed to help the Central African Republic emerge from the terrible crisis and build peace."



    Mr. Ban has previously said that he is concerned the violence in the C.A.R. could lead to the country being divided.

    There are already 6,000 African Union soldiers in the country along with 2,000 French troops. The European Union has promised to send another 1,000 soldiers.



    Mr. Ban's plan would incorporate many of the African troops into the new peacekeeping mission. He said it will take the United Nations approximately six months to prepare for the deployment of the operation.

    The Central African Republic was plunged into chaos a year ago when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled the president and went on a rampage of killing and looting.

    In response, Christian and animist groups, known as anti-Balaka, have sprung up and gone on the offensive, forcing tens of thousands of Muslims to flee their homes.

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