The United Nations Security Council has voted to send a peacekeeping force of 12,000 troops to the Central African Republic.
The 2,000 French troops already deployed there have also been authorised to support them.
The UN will take over authority from a 5,600 strong African Union force currently working alongside the French.
“The security situation in CAR remains volatile. African Union troops supported by the French troops are doing tremendous work to protect he civilian population. But its not yet enough.The resolution we just adopted is a key turning point,” said France’s ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud.
The UN hopes to integrate as many of the AU troops as possible into its peacekeeping force.
The French were the first into their former colony, after a Muslim-led coup last year led to violence against the majority Christians, who then formed militias to attack Muslims. The African Union joined them later, and an 800-strong EU force arrives shortly.
“The UN or the international community will never solve a problem for any country in the world. But the UN will create the necessary framework where all citizens of the Central African Republic will sit, discuss, talk to each other, in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the Central African Republic,” said the CAR’s Foreign Minister Toussaint Kongo Doudou.
Keeping the two sides apart is proving difficult, with both the Muslim Seleka militias and the Christian “anti-Balaka” forces opposing them turning on the peacekeepers at times, whose thinly-spread forces have been blamed for not restoring security.