UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon published a report proposing the extension of the mandate of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the report on December 9.

The report proposes the extension of the mandate of UNFICYP --which will expire on December 15-- until June 15 2010. The report is expected to be adopted on December 14.

The report covers developments in Cyprus between May 11 and October 20 that are of interest to UNFICYP.

Ban describes the situation in the buffer zone as calm, noting that there has been considerable progress in the comprehensive settlement talks between the two leaders in the island. He suggests however that UNFICYP should remain in the island as the two leaders have not reached an agreement yet.

The report welcomes the reciprocal cancellation of "Toros" and "Nikiforos" military exercises on both sides, regarding these as confidence building developments within the context of the settlement talks.

Ban's report suggests economic, social, cultural interaction between the two sides will contribute to the peace process, build confidence between the two communities and ease the feeling of isolation in Turkish Cypriots.

UNFICYP currently has 858 soldiers and 69 policemen deployed in the buffer zone on the island.