UN vote to take on Somalia peace duty

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK (AP) - The United Nations Security Council voted yesterday to take over peace-keeping in Somalia from a US-led force, sending in the largest and most powerful UN force to date.

The 28,000-member force would replace US troops who have been trying to feed and calm Somalia since December, in what was intended as a brief relief mission. The UN troops would take over on 1 May, under the ambitious US proposal adopted unanimously by the Security Council.

The UN force, which would cost dollars 1.5bn (pounds 1bn), would virtually run the country. The Security Council authorised its troops to do whatever was necessary to maintain peace, disarm warring factions and protect relief workers. The force would return hundreds of thousands of refugees to their homes, clear land mines, set up a police force, help rebuild the economy and conduct talks on creating a new government.

Its efforts would be on an even vaster scale than those under way in Cambodia, where 22,000 peace-keeping troops and civilians are trying to restore order and conduct elections after a devastating civil war. A UN force of 23,000 is deployed in the former Yugoslavia.

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