UN intends to establish Somalia peacekeeping force

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday expressing its intention to establish a UN peacekeeping force in Somalia, but putting off a decision for several months in order to assess the volatile situation in the Horn of Africa nation. The resolution adopted by the council renewed the mandate of the African Union force, known as AMISOM, that is currently deployed in Somalia for six months. It urged African nations to beef up its troop strength from the current 2,600 to the 8,000 originally authorized. It expressed the council's "intent to establish a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Somalia as a follow-on force to AMISOM, subject to a further decision of the Security Council by June 1, 2009." Somalia is currently at a dangerous crossroads. The president resigned in late December, saying he has control of most of the country to Islamic insurgents. The Ethiopian troops who have been protecting the fragile, UN-backed government are pulling out, leaving a dangerous power vacuum. Islamic groups are starting to fight among themselves for power.