U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says East African foreign ministers from countries including South Sudan have agreed to move ahead with the deployment of a regional peacekeeping force to that troubled nation.

South Sudan at first rejected the regional protection force after the U.N. Security Council earlier this month voted to deploy the 4,000 additional peacekeepers to help restore calm. Fighting that erupted in the capital last month killed hundreds.

Kerry said Monday after the meeting there is "absolutely no question" that the force should be deployed. But he did not say when it might be sent into the country.

Kerry also announced nearly $138 million in humanitarian assistance from the United States to South Sudan, where a humanitarian crisis has worsened amid the recent turmoil.