The U.N. Security Council has authorized a European Union military force to help the United Nations oversee upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

EU leaders plan to deploy several hundred troops to Congo, with an additional force of around 800 stationed on standby outside the country.

The resolution, adopted unanimously by the Security Council Tuesday, authorizes the EU force to support U.N. troops, help protect the Kinshasa airport, and protect civilians under imminent threat.

The elections in Congo had been scheduled for June 18, but were recently delayed. Congo's electoral commission says it hopes to set a new date by the end of the month.

The elections will be the first in four decades in the vast and war-ravaged central African country. Some 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers are already stationed in the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.