BRUSSELS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The European Foreign Affairs Council said it has created the legal mechanism necessary for a military operation in the Central African Republic.
"The new military operation, which has been given the name EUFOR RCA, will provide temporary support to secure the area around the capital city, Bangui," it said in a statement Monday.
French Maj. Gen. Philippe Ponties was appointed by the European Union in January to lead a unit authorized by a U.N. Security Council resolution to use force in CAR to help restore order.
Louis Michel, chairman of an EU assembly on African affairs, had said deploying EU forces to support African Union peacekeepers was vital to helping bring stability to CAR.
CAR conflict erupted in March when Seleka, a Sunni rebel coalition, overthrew the government by force. Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, said last week the conflict has "gone from bad to worse" since anti-balaka, a Christian militia, took up arms against their Sunni rivals and it was time to open a probe into the situation.
The European Commission said in a statement Monday the restoration of security and public order in CAR was an "immediate" priority.
"An essential medium- to long-term objective is the rebuilding of state institutions," it said.