The United Nations is drawing up plans to deploy a quick reaction force in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The African Union mission is short of funds
The UN is responding to a warning from the African Union that it may be forced to hand over its peacekeeping mission in Darfur because of a lack of funds.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said rapes and murders were continuing in Darfur, and a new force would need air support and sophisticated equipment.
The AU currently has about 6,000 peacekeepers stationed in Darfur.
In recent months, AU troops in the region have been attacked by gunmen. Who was behind these attacks is not clear.
Mr Annan said plans for the proposed force would need the co-operation of the Sudanese government.
"We need to get the government to work with us in bringing in an expanded force with troops from outside Africa, because until recently it has maintained that it will only accept African troops," he told reporters.
"But I think we have gone beyond that now."
Mr Annan warned that the AU force needed money urgently, because any takeover by the UN would take months.
Some two million people have fled their homes in more than three years of internal conflict in Darfur.