UNITED NATIONS, Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will recommend to the Security Council on Monday an increase in peacekeepers in South Sudan to better protect civilians from violence that has brought the country to the verge of civil war.
"I will be sending a letter to the Security Council containing my recommendations for boosting the protection capacity of UNMISS (the U.N. mission) with additional troops, police and logistical assets," Ban told reporters.
He said the United Nations was already approaching countries to ask them to contribute troops and assets.
Former Vice President Riek Machar, leader of a rebellion against South Sudan's government, told Reuters on Monday he was ready for dialogue to end the conflict but said President Salva Kiir must first release his detained political allies.
Machar said he had spoken on Monday to Ethiopia's foreign minister, leader of a team of African mediators trying to end more than a week of fighting that has killed hundreds of people and driven thousands from their homes.
The United Nations has some 6,800 peacekeeping troops and nearly 700 police in South Sudan. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Alden Bentley)