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UN Authorizes 4,000 More Troops to South Sudan


FILE - A UN armoured personnel vehicle stand in a refugee camp in Juba South Sudan.
FILE - A UN armoured personnel vehicle stand in a refugee camp in Juba South Sudan.

The United Nations Security Council has authorized the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops to South Sudan, despite reservations to the move by the government.

The council Friday adopted the U.S.-drafted resolution that also threatens an arms embargo on South Sudan's government if it does not cooperate with the deployment. The vote was 11 in favor with four abstentions -- China, Russia, Egypt and Venezuela.

The troops will be deployed to South Sudan's capital, Juba, and are authorized to "use all necessary means, including undertaking robust action where necessary" to enforce their mandate.

Peter Wilson, British ambassador to the U.N., said he was disappointed that the resolution did not include an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan, but he said Britain accepted the text in the spirit of compromise.

The authorization follows heavy fighting last month in Juba that left hundreds of people dead, including two Chinese peacekeepers, raising fears of a return to civil war. The U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan was criticized for failing to protect civilians at U.N. sites.

South Sudan's government has said it would accept the new troops but has voiced opposition to the troops being under U.N. command.

The new force, to be made up of African troops, will bring the total number of U.N. peacekeeping troops in the country to about 17,000. Peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since the country gained independent from Sudan in 2011.

Fighting broke out in South Sudan in December 2013 when government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir battled rebels led by his former deputy, Riek Machar. The two sides signed a peace deal in August 2015, but implementation has been slow.

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