The UN Security Council on Thursday December 13th approved a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force of 14,600 in the Central African Republic.
The mandate allows for the deployment of 11,650 military personnel and 2,080 police officers as part of the UN mission, known as MINUSCA, to be extended until 15th November 2019.
The resolution, drafted by France, urges all militias and armed groups in the country "to lay down their arms, cease all forms of violence and destabilizing activities."
Russia criticised the French approach, describing it as "arrogant" and accusing Paris of rejecting the search for compromise. Together with China, it abstained on the final vote, which was carried by the remaining 13 members of the Security Council.
The administration of President Donald Trump said it needed to consult with Congress and demanded that no additional costs be incurred by extending the mission.
Congress approved the move and the new resolution says the costs of the amended mission will be covered "by reallocating approved resources."
The resolution calls on Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadera to advance talks with armed groups and national reconciliation "without delay."
Despite the abundance of diamonds and uranium in its territory, Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country is struggling to recover from the civil war that erupted in 2013, after the overthrow of President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels. In response, Christians organised vigilante units dubbed "anti-Balaka."