UN demands end to escalating violence in Darfur and more robust action by peacekeepers

The U.N. Security Council is demanding an end to escalating violence in Darfur and more robust action by peacekeepers to protect civilians, ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, and deter threats against peacekeeping troops.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the council on Tuesday expressed serious concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation, condemned increased human rights violations, and demanded that all armed groups immediately engage in negotiations without preconditions to reach a comprehensive peace settlement.

The council extended the mandate of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur until Aug. 31, 2014.

It welcomed steps to reconfigure the force to include up to 16,200 military personnel and up to 4,690 police.

Darfur has been gripped by bloodshed since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum.