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May 27, 2014 AT 11:39 AM
The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday authorized peacekeepers in South Sudan to focus on protecting civilians instead of state-building activities, backing the use of force by U.N. troops amid worsening violence in the world's newest nation. The U.S.-drafted resolution, unanimously adopted by the 15-member council, "emphasizes that protection of civilians ... must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources within the mission." Fighting erupted in South Sudan in December after months of tensions sparked by President Salva Kiir's decision to sack longtime rival Riek Machar from the deputy president's position.