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UN to vote on Central Africa force on Thursday

A French soldier handles ammunition at the Bessengue railway station in Douala, on December 3, 2013
A French soldier handles ammunition at the Bessengue railway station in Douala, on December 3, 2013

The 15 members of the United Nations Security Council have reached agreement on a French resolution aimed at restoring order to the lawless Central African Republic and it is expected to be adopted unanimously later this week, diplomats said Tuesday.

The resolution provides for the African Union force in the country (MISCA) to be deployed for 12 months, with a review after six months, to help "the protection of civilians and the restoration of security and public order through the use of appropriate measures."

The resolution also authorises French troops in the country to "take all necessary measures to support MISCA in the discharge of its mandate."

The text is placed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter regarding the use of force.

The resolution also requests that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issue a report to the Security Council within three months "on the possible transformation of MISCA to a UN peacekeeping operation."

France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud said earlier Tuesday it was not a foregone conclusion that at UN force would be launched.

"At this stage, it is difficult to know whether the African force, with the support of French forces, will be able to do the work," Araud said. "If the African force does the work there will be no need for a peacekeeping mission," he added.

The AU force is currently about 2,500 troops and is to increase to 3,600 this month. Some Western countries say the force is not big enough to cope and Ban said in a recent report that 6,000-9,000 troops would be needed if the UN steps in.

The resolution also provides for the creation of a commission to investigate human rights, an arms embargo to the Central African Republic and targeted sanctions against anyone guilty of rights violations or attempting to block the political transition.