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UNITEDNATIONS (AP) â The U.N. Security Council on Thursday extended the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for another year, in a resolution that calls on the young nation to take more responsibility for protecting itsÂ civilians.
As South Sudanâs first birthday approaches on Monday, the council also demanded that it and Sudan immediately cease all hostilities and human rights abuses againstÂ civilians.
The U.N. refugee agency, meanwhile, has also cast a pall over the coming milestone with warnings that South Sudanâs humanitarian situation was reaching a breakingÂ point.
Nearly a year ago, the council authorized the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, after the nation finally gained independence from Sudan. The force of more than 5,000 troops and hundreds of police and U.N. civilian staff was sent to protect civilians and help improve security after decades of war killed 2 millionÂ people.
Since then, however, the neighboring nations have only drawn closer to full-scale war over unresolved issues of oil revenues and their disputedÂ border.
While the council called on South Sudan to step up its own security efforts, Sudanâs U.N. Ambassador, Francis Nazario, called on the council to beef up the U.N.Â mission.
âThe government of South Sudan would like to see UNMISS doing much more than it did last year, and we will definitely call for a mandate to give it more powers,â NazarioÂ said.
On Wednesday, the U.N. refugees commissioner, Antonio Guterres, warned that humanitarian efforts in South Sudan were in a state of crisis, as refugees flee Sudanâs turbulent Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The U.N. says 175,000 refugees have fled to South Sudan, most in remote areas that lack basicÂ infrastructure.
âThe combination of difficult and dangerous conditions in South Sudan and the huge numbers of refugees arriving there mean our operations are severely stretched,â Guterres said. âAnd people are still arriving every day, many of them malnourished, and including unaccompanied children inÂ groups.â
In May, the Security Council called for an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on the status of the disputed, oil-rich border region of Abyei and extended the U.N.âs separate mission there by sixÂ months.
The U.N. Interim Security Force for Abyei, which includes about 4,000 peacekeepers, was created last year after Sudan seized control of Abyei before South Sudan gainedÂ independence.
The council also threatened in May to impose nonmilitary sanctions against both Sudans if they didnât stop fighting and return to negotiations. Negotiations between the Sudans recentlyÂ resumed.
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Older news items:
- UN Security Council extends South Sudan peacekeeping mission as first ... - Washington Post - 06/07/2012
- UN Council Extends South Sudan Mission - ABC News - 06/07/2012
- UN Mission Warns of Economic, Refugee Crises in South Sudan - Voice of America - 06/07/2012
- South Sudan: Step Up Urgent Human Rights Reforms - Tolerance - 05/07/2012
- On One-Year Anniversary, Analyst says South Sudan Can Do Better - Voice of America - 05/07/2012
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