The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize a force of about 26,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help end more than four years of violence in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has left hundreds of thousands dead and forced millions from their homes.
The U.N. mission, one of the largest in the organization's history, would assume authority by Dec. 31 over a force of about 7,000 African Union peacekeepers who have struggled to protect civilians. But U.N. officials said that it could be several more months beyond the deadline before the full force is deployed and that stemming the violence will be impossible without a political settlement between the government in Khartoum and numerous rebel factions.
The Security Council resolution grants the peacekeeping mission authority to use military force to protect its personnel, guarantee the safe travel of aid workers and provide protection for civilians. Hours before the text was adopted, the House voted to pass a bill that would shield investors and state and local governments in the United States from lawsuits if they divest funds invested in companies doing business in Sudan or Iran. Source...