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UN renews peacekeepers for Abyei in area contested by Sudan and South Sudan

The Security Council has extended its peacekeeping mission in Abyei, a region contested by Sudan and South Sudan.

The council on Friday unanimously agreed to keep the Ethiopian-led force of almost 4,000 in the field for another six months.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended the extension, saying in a recent report that the region has been relatively calm for several months, but Sudan and South Sudan have made scant progress in settling border disputes.

The force, dubbed UNISFA, was deployed to monitor and verify the withdrawal of Sudan's army and South Sudan forces from Abyei It also assists in the delivery of humanitarian aid and protects U.N. and humanitarian workers.

Sudan and South Sudan have been battling on various fronts since South Sudan gained independence in June 2011.