The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved on Wednesday the deployment of an extra 900 peacekeepers to protect civilians in Central African Republic at the request of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The United States, which has a veto power on the council, has pushed to cut peacekeeping costs but it agreed to boost the authorized troop strength to 11,650 in Central African Republic, where the mission is known as MINUSCA.
US Deputy UN Ambassador Michele Sison said the United States wants to ensure each UN mission has "the most effective and efficient forces possible." Washington pays more than 28 percent of the total annual peacekeeping budget of $7.3 billion.
"We believe additional capacity will provide MINUSCA the necessary flexibility to address emerging threats and fulfill its protection of civilians mandate," she said. "But simply adding troops will never be enough to guarantee success."
"We need to focus on the quality of troops deployed, not just the number of troops," Sison told the council.
Thousands have died and a fifth of Central Africans have fled a conflict that broke out after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian militias.
Although unrest has since subsided, fighting has spiked this year and the United Nations warned that ethnic fighting could descend again into a much larger conflict.
"The Security Council must throw its full weight into halting the spiral of violence," French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told the council.
U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic have also been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse that the world body has been working to address.
The Security Council asked Guterres "to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance of MINUSCA with the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure that all personnel of the mission are vetted for history of sexual misconduct."