UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday that will dramatically cut the United Nations-African Union military force in Sudan's vast western Darfur region by more than half in response to reduced fighting and improved security conditions.

The resolution adopted by a vote of 15-0 also looks ahead to "the eventual exit" of the joint force known as UNAMID.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination. The government in Khartoum was accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing them on civilian populations — a charge it denies.

The U.N.-AU force was established in 2007 with a mandate to help protect civilians in Darfur.

In recent years, as the result of a successful government military campaign, the rebellion has been reduced to rebel Sudan Liberation Army forces loyal to founder Abdul Wahid Elnur in western Jebel Marra.

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