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UN Chief Recommends Peacekeeping Force for CAR

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva March 3, 2014.
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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.