The UN Security Council unanimously approved on Tuesday the deployment of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to Somalia, which could be followed in six months by a UN force.
The British-drafted resolution passed by the 15-member council authorizes the AU force to deploy for six months to help secure the lawless east African nation wracked by civil war since 1991.
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said, "Our common objective is to promote reconciliation, peace and security in a country that has known little but conflict and instability for so long."
The resolution "stresses the need for broad-based and representative institutions reached through an all-inclusive political process in Somalia ... in order to consolidate stability, peace and reconciliation in the country and ensure that international assistance is as effective as possible."
The Security Council will "authorize member states of the African Union to establish for a period of six months a mission in Somalia, which shall be authorized to take all necessary measures as appropriate to carry out" its mandate.
The mission will favor dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia, ensure freedom of movement, protect federal transitional institutions and help put in place a national security and stabilization plan.
It will also establish and train an all-inclusive Somali security force and assure protection of humanitarian workers in the country.
The resolution asks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "send a technical assessment mission to the African Union headquarters and Somalia as soon as possible to report on the political and security situation and the possibility of a UN peacekeeping operation following the AU's deployment."
Meanwhile, in a report to the council released on Tuesday, Ban proposed deployment of up to 11,000 international troops to Chad and the Central African Republic to protect civilians caught in the spillover from Sudan's Darfur conflict.
Ban proposed two options that include political and military components.
The first option would have a very mobile force of 6,000 UN troops backed by aerial reconnaissance and intervention.
The second would deploy a more ground-based mission with about 10,900 soldiers if contributing states are unable to provide enough aircraft.
In both options, the mission's military component would be based in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena.
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