UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Tuesday welcomed a new resolution of the UN Security Council to send more peacekeeping forces to South Sudan to better protect civilians from violence, calling for an immediate end to conflict and a start of dialogue to solve the crisis peacefully in the world's youngest country.
Ban spoke to reporters outside the Security Council chamber shortly after the 15-nation body unanimously adopted the resolution to temporarily increase the overall force levels of the UN Mission in South Sudan to 12,500 troops and 1,323 police.
"I want to commend the Security Council for acting quickly and decisively to respond to the unfolding crisis in South Sudan," Ban said. "The world is watching -- and the world is acting."
"I welcome today's resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and opening of dialogue and demanding that all parties cooperate fully with our peacekeeping mission, UNMISS," he said. "This measure will help boost security, reinforce peacekeeping bases and provide critical assets. It authorizes the strengthening of UNMISS with 5,500 more troops, and 440 more police."
South Sudan, which gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011, has been rocked by growing violence over the past 10 days that has displaced over 80,000 people, with some 45,000 taking refuge in the compounds of UNMISS.
The conflict, sparked by an alleged coup attempt by loyalists of former Vice President Riek Machar against the government of President Salva Kiir, has been increasingly marked by ethnically targeted killings pitting the Dinka against the Lou Nuer.
At least 20 civilians who sought refuge inside a UNMISS base were killed during an attack which occurred in Akobo town, Jonglei State, on Thursday. Two Indian peacekeepers were also confirmed dead.
On Saturday, UNMISS relocated all remaining civilian staff from its compound in the Jonglei state capital of Bor to Juba.
"The situation remains very fluid," Ban said.
"There is no military solution to this conflict," he said. " This is a political crisis which requires a peaceful, political solution."
"I once again call on South Sudanese leaders to exercise restraint and settle their differences peacefully," he said. "I underscore their responsibility to protect civilians -- and remind them that those responsible for crimes will be held accountable."
After the adoption of the new resolution, Ban told the most powerful UN body that "attacks on civilians and the UN peacekeepers must cease immediately."
"The United Nations will investigate reports of these incidents and of grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity," he said. "Those responsible will be held personally accountable. They should know the world is watching."
Also taking the floor at the Security Council, South Sudan's UN Ambassador Francis Mading Deng said, "South Sudan has been consistently grateful for the support the international community and the United Nations have extended to our nascent country before and after our independence" less than three years ago.
"This is particularly needed now, as we are experiencing a period of complex internal conflict which is threatening large sections of the population," he said. "South Sudanese do not want to fall back into the abyss of war from which they have suffered for over half a century."