By Jeremy Herb
The United Nations Security Council voted Tuesday to increase the number of U.N. peacekeeping troops in the South Sudan from 7,000 to 12,500.
The resolution was adopted unanimously by the U.N. Security Council, according to The Associated Press.
The U.N is responding to escalating violence in South Sudan that has sparked fears of a civil war.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that U.S. special envoy to South Sudan Donald Booth was in the capital of Juba on Tuesday, urging President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, who is leading the rebels in South Sudan, to begin peace negotiations.
“The United States urges all parties in the crisis in South Sudan to implement an immediate cessation of hostilities,” Psaki said in a statement. “This will offer critical humanitarian access to populations in dire need and open a space for a mediated political dialogue between the opposing sides.”
In addition to the peacekeeping troops, the U.N. is requesting roughly 400 international police officers and attack and utility helicopters to be sent to South Sudan.
The U.S. deployed about 150 Marines to Djibouti on Monday to be prepared to assist with any evacuation or security of U.S. facilities. About 380 U.S. citizens were evacuated from Bor, South Sudan, on Sunday, after four U.S. service members were injured when U.S. V-22 Ospreys were fired on a day earlier.