Turkey’s Presidency said on Friday it had formed a new department to fight attempts at “manipulation and disinformation” targeting the country.
The unit’s tasks include strategic communications and crisis management during times of natural disaster, emergency and war, as well as identifying “psychological operations, propaganda and perception operations waged against Turkey”, it said.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, which has ruled Turkey for 18 years, frequently criticises foreign media but has come under criticism for its treatment of journalists at home.
The media watchdog International Press Institute said last year more than 120 journalists were being held in Turkey’s jails and the situation had not improved since the lifting of a two-year state of emergency following a failed 2016 coup.
Hundreds of journalists had faced prosecution since the coup, mainly on terrorism-related charges, the IPI said.
Many Turks have also been charged over social media posts insulting Erdogan or his ministers, or for criticism related to Turkey’s military operations in Syria and Iraq and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey said on Friday it extended the operations of its seismic research vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa off southeastern Cyprus until October 18.
Cyprus’ internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government has long been at loggerheads with Turkey, which began drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus last year.
The dispute stems from overlapping claims to regional waters linked to the split of the island between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of Cyprus is recognised only by Ankara.
Turkey questions Cyprus’ right to explore in the seas around the island because it maintains that the Nicosia administration does not represent the interests of Turkish Cypriots.
That argument is dismissed by Cyprus, which is legally recognised as representing the entire island.
Friday’s announcement came three days after Turkey extended the operations of its Yavuz drill ship off Cyprus until October 12, in a move that Cyprus described as provocative. Greece, also locked in dispute with Turkey over east Mediterreanean waters, expressed concern.
By Guy Faulconbridge and Ingrid Melander
European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown.
Cases in the United Kingdom almost doubled to 6,000 per day in the latest reporting week, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was inevitable that the country would see a second wave of the coronavirus, and while he did not want another national lockdown, the government may need to introduce new restrictions.
“We are now seeing a second wave coming in … It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” he said.
The sharp rise in the number of cases meant the government had to keep everything under review.
“I don’t want to get into a second national lockdown at all,” he said, but added: “When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further.”
Britain has already imposed new COVID regulations on the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire from Tuesday.
Infections have climbed steadily across most of Europe over the last two months. Intensive care admissions and deaths have also begun to tick up, especially in Spain and France.
In Spain, which has seen more cases than any other European country, the region including the Spanish capital Madrid will limit movement between and within areas badly affected by a new surge in infections, affecting more than 850,000 people.
Regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said on Friday that access to parks and public areas would be restricted, and gatherings will be limited to six, but people would not be stopped from going to work in the country’s hardest-hit region.
“We need to avoid lockdown, we need to avoid economic disaster,” Ayuso told a news conference.
Authorities in the southern French city of Nice banned gatherings of more than 10 people in public spaces and restricted bar opening hours, following fresh curbs introduced earlier this week in Marseille and Bordeaux.
France on Friday registered more than 13,200 new infections, its highest daily count since the start of the pandemic.
In Denmark, where the 454 new infections on Friday was close to a record of 473 in April, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the limit on public gatherings would be lowered to 50 people from 100 and ordered bars and restaurants to close early.
Iceland ordered entertainment venues and pubs in the capital area to close for four days between September 18-21, while in Ireland indoor restaurant dining and indoor events were banned in Dublin after a surge in cases in recent days.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his government was preparing “regional” measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak after the Netherlands registered a record 1,972 cases in the past 24 hours.
The measures will be detailed later on Friday and are expected to include tighter restrictions on public gatherings and earlier closing times for bars and restaurants. Hotspots include major cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
In Greece, which emerged largely unscathed from the first wave of COVID-19 which hit Europe in March and April, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the government was ready to tighten restrictions in the greater Athens area as cases accelerated.
Mitsotakis said Greece’s committee of health experts had recommended extra curbs on public gatherings, the suspension of cultural events for 14 days and other measures which “could be decided today … and go into force on Monday.”
Europe is still hoping not to follow the example of Israel, which entered a second nationwide lockdown on Friday at the onset of the Jewish high-holiday season, following a jump in new coronavirus cases.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was inevitable that the country would see a second wave of coronavirus and that while he did not want a second national lockdown, the government may need to introduce new restrictions.
Britain was reported to be considering whether to impose a new lockdown across the country, after new COVID-19 cases almost doubled to 6,000 per day, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
“We are now seeing a second wave coming in…It is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” he said.
The sharp rise in the number of cases in the country meant that the government needed to keep everything under review and he did not rule out further measures being introduced.
“I don’t want to get into a second national lockdown at all,” he said, but added: “When you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further.”
A strong tremor shook the Greek island of Crete on Friday.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake had a magnitude of 5.4 and occurred at 16:28 GMT, 20 kilometres southwest of Arvi at a depth of 40.5 kilometres.
The fire brigade and police said they had received no immediate calls for help or reports of damage.
The House plenum on Friday passed three law amendments aimed at more effectively managing migration flows to Cyprus with main opposition Akel expressing concerns as to whether the new arrangements were in line with international law.
The amendments provide for shortening the period of time an asylum seeker can appeal the rejection of their application among other things.
More specifically, the law on refugees was amended to give the head of the asylum service the power to issue a decision of return or removal or a deportation decree in a single administrative act at the same time of issuing a rejection decision on an asylum application.
The amendment of the law on the establishment and operation of the administrative court of international protection stipulates that an appeal before the court against a decision of the head of the asylum service or the refugee review authority shall be filed within 30 days. It also provides for shortening the deadline for appealing from 75 to 15 days.
The third amendment concerns the law on aliens and immigration and allows for the issuance of the decision to send back and / or expel an asylum seeker at the same time as the rejection decision on their application for international protection in a single administrative act.
The amendments are part of the measures the government announced earlier this year to tackle the numbers of asylum seekers by, among other things, reducing application procedures.
Akel MP Aristos Damianou expressed concerns as to whether these amendments were in line with international and European law.
Damianou said Cyprus could land itself in trouble mainly due to the shrinking of the period asylum seekers can file an appeal since it may make it impossible for them to do so thus depriving them of their right to access justice.
Ruling Disy, however, defended the amendments with its leader, Averof Neophytou, calling for a stop to turning national issues into ideological differences.
“The migration issue creates national security problems, risks of increasing terrorism and burden financially the entire country,” Neophytou said. He added that his party respects human rights but there should be a distinction “between what’s legal and illegal.”
Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said that between 2007 and 2013 it was taking the asylum services three to four years to process each application while at the same time, applicants were given “fat allowances” encouraging more and more migrants to come to Cyprus.
When these inflows dropped after 2013, he said, the numbers started to rise again due to the hybrid warfare Turkey was waging on Cyprus through channelling migrants to the island.
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said that when Disy was backing the EU-Turkey agreement on migrants, his party had fought so that the pressure from the migratory flows is not only on the southern European countries.
October 19, the date on which other specialties were scheduled to join the health system (Gesy) still stands, a senior official said on Friday, as several professional groups complained that negotiations were not finished and not much time was left to strike a deal.
The head of the health insurance organisation (HIO), Andreas Papaconstantinou, said the date will be discussed next week along with the progress in the negotiations with various health professionals.
Dentists, occupational therapists, psychologists, physios, speech therapists, and clinical dietitians, all slated to join on October 19, have all express doubts over the plan, citing disagreements with the HIO.
On Thursday, the dental association said they could not join the system with the price the HIO set for the only service they would be offering – teeth cleaning – once a year.
The average cost of a cleaning is between €50 to €60 and it is understood that the HIO is offering dentists between €22 and €30 per unit, depending on the number of people who opt for it, plus an extra €5 for the fluoridation.
The dentists said the offer was not appealing, as they lobby for a higher unit price in the region of €40 minimum.
Papaconstantinou said no one could blame the HIO for not making “appealing” proposals.
A consultation is taking place and all possible scenarios must be exhausted and the remuneration must be considered sensible.
“We must be very careful with our finances. We are going through a pandemic. Private sector finances have taken a 60 per cent hit during this time and it is natural that HIO proposals must adapt with these circumstances. I think it would be unfair for anyone to criticise us for this approach,” Papaconstantinou said.
He said not all room for discussion with the particular health providers has been exhausted and the HIO was ready for talks and to explain its actions to parliament and the health minister.
The Qing Miao women of China have their mother’s hair, quite literally. Each household prepares a headdress for their daughter to wear in honor of the women in the family. The headdress is made of real hair pulled from the combs of elders. Yang Er Meil lives in Longjia Village and is an expert in making these large headdresses. It takes special skill to wrap the large coils of hair.
Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios touted Cyprus for a proper holiday in safety as the island is among the countries with the lowest coronavirus cases in Europe, he said.
Speaking to Sun Online Travel, published on Friday, Perdios highlighted the benefits of holidaying in Cyprus arguing that the country had been able to resume a relaxing holiday mode by being so strict with arrivals.
The minister told the British news portal that in Cyprus, the virus was fully under control. “We only have a small number of cases on a daily basis, around two to three per 100,000 per day,” he was quoted saying by the news portal.
“By testing before arrival, this has ensured that no one coming in is carrying the virus with them, keeping it safe for everyone else here on holiday as well,” he said.
He added that people feel like it is a very safe place to be but at the same time, it is a destination where people can have a proper holiday as usual.
“They can go to the beach without a mask,” Perdios said, adding though there were protocols on the beach such as spaces between sunbeds, no one is forced to sit in 40C heat with a mask walk in the street with one on.
Perdios said that Cyprus managed to keep cases to some of the lowest in Europe and avoid a second wave due to the strict testing restrictions on arrival.
“We tried to look at the longer game and didn’t just decide to open and have an influx of tourists.”
He added that not only were UK tourists increasing week-on-week, but that he also expected to see a rise in bookings for October half-term and the winter months, where the temperature still remains around 20C. He said Cyprus has great weather until January. “I hope people consider the island for the winter holidays.”
The news portal reported that there were now just 15 countries which have no quarantine rules either on arrival or back in the UK for British travellers, including Cyprus.
Liverpool have signed Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on a long-term contract, the Premier League champions said on Friday.
British media reported the deal will cost Liverpool around 20 million pounds with five million pounds in add-ons.
Thiago, 29, spent seven seasons with Bayern and played in last season’s Champions League final victory over Paris St Germain.
“I think it’s an amazing feeling. I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I am very, very happy to be here,” Thiago told the club’s website.
“When the years are passing, you are trying to win as much as you can – and when you win, you want to win more. I think this club describes what I am as well; I want to achieve all of the goals, win as many trophies as possible.”
Seven new coronavirus cases were detected on Friday, the health ministry said.
The latest cases were detected among 3,039 lab tests.
Among them is one person who had lost sense of smell last Sunday and presented myalgia a day later. He or she got tested on Thursday.
Another case concerns a football player of Nea Salamina FC who arrived from Angola on Monday through Portugal and Vienna.
One person works at Ocean Basket restaurant in Phinikoudes, Larnaca and is a colleague of two other people working there who tested positive last Tuesday and Thursday. Both persons who tested positive on Friday and Thursday had been in self-isolation as close contacts of the employee who was found positive on Tuesday. Friday’s is the third person in that cluster, the health ministry said.
Two more cases are contacts of a person who was part of the cluster, reportedly in Larnaca, that started on September 9. “They are from different ‘branches’ of that chain,” the health ministry said. That chain now has 18 cases, it said.
Two people tested privately. One of them had presented symptoms on Monday, the other had no symptoms and said had no contact with anyone who had already tested positive.
Among the positive cases is Bishop of Kition Nektarios, who was among the contacts of one of the two employees of his bishopric who tested positive a few days ago.
The bishop tested negative on Monday but was self-isolating before testing again. The second test he took came out positive, CyBC reported.
One patient is being treated at the Nicosia hospital’s intensive care unit and six more are at the Famagusta hospital, one of them in the increased care unit.
The total number of cases is at 1,565.
Europe’s healthcare regulator has endorsed using dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties, paving the way for the steroid to become the region’s second approved treatment for the respiratory illness.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday the drug could be an option to treat adults and adolescents needing oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation, after concluding its review of results from a trial by British scientists.
The study, dubbed RECOVERY, by researchers at the University of Oxford, showed in June that dexamethasone reduced death rates by about a third in severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The drug has since been approved in Japan as a COVID-19 treatment.
The decades old drug is cheap and widely available, commonly used against a range of inflammatory conditions. Companies can now apply for a licence to their national regulators or the EMA for an expanded use of the drug, the watchdog said.
It said the recommended dose in adults and adolescents, from the age of 12 years and weighing at least 40 kilograms, was 6 milligrams once a day for up to 10 days. (https://bit.ly/3hFGHrK)
The EMA was already evaluating Taw Pharma’s branded steroidal version of the medicine for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus after it received an application from the drug developer earlier this month.
Britain’s Hikma Pharmaceuticals said in June it had seen demand increase and was prepared to scale up production following the RECOVERY results. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the EMA endorsement.
While approvals are up to the European Commission, it typically follows the EMA’s recommendations for its decisions.
Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, was the first to be approved for COVID-19 by Europe in July, about a month after the EMA endorsed the drug. It is branded as Veklury in the region.
Domestic workers will be allowed to come to Cyprus after receiving an entry permit from the government under coronavirus protocols, a decree issued by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Friday.
According to the decree, as of September 25, the special licence will be given to domestic workers, after the approval of the committee established after a cabinet meeting on June 17. The committee examines the entry requirements for people arriving from category C countries.
The special entry permit will be given after an application is filled out by the domestic worker online, and after the employers deposit a cost of accommodation for the applicant in a quarantine hotel, the ministry announced.
The individual will remain in the quarantine facility for 14 days, and the employer will have to pay for two coronavirus tests (one on the domestic worker’s arrival and one twelve days later).
According to the minister, the worker will have to pay for transport to the quarantine facility.
Cyprus could potentially derail EU sanctions against Belarus, over the bloc’s delay in imposing similar measures on Turkey, reports said on Friday.
The EU has been seeking to impose sanctions on 40 individuals linked to election tampering, and then orchestrating a crackdown on protests following the recent election.
On its part, Cyprus has been lobbying heavily for sanctions against Ankara over the past few months after Turkey sent drill ships and research vessels accompanied by warships to the Eastern Mediterranean, and into the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Further issues arose in the area, when Turkish vessels also entered the EEZ of Greece, causing officials in Athens to also call for sanctions, but at the same time seek dialogue with Ankara to deal with the issue.
Turkey claims the area their ships are exploring is part of its EEZ, as designated in an agreement signed with Libya.
However, the entire process of placing sanctions on Minsk seems to be being derailed by Cyprus, as EU diplomats told the Guardian newspaper in the UK.
According to the report, EU diplomats told the newspaper the bloc’s members were angry with Cyprus and that Nicosia had taken the sanctions process hostage.
After a meeting on Wednesday of EU ambassadors, the newspaper’s source said: “Everyone is pissed [off], everyone is annoyed. I am sure this could have consequences [for Cyprus].”
Also on Wednesday, the EU commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said the EU had to take “a clear and swift position” on values, “be it in Hong Kong, Moscow or Minsk”, declaring that the EU was “on the side of the people of Belarus”.
On Monday there will be a meeting of EU foreign ministers, where sanctions and support for Belarus are meant to be discussed.
Turkey and Ankara’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean will be discussed at an EU Council summit later in the week. The summit will be attended by the leaders of the countries.
Last week, Cyprus denied blocking the sanctions on Belarus, according to a Reuters report.
“We categorically deny blocking and linking the two procedures,” a Cypriot diplomatic source said of the Belarus and Turkey issues.
The source told Reuters that Nicosia supported the sanctions but has requested time to study the planned EU travel bans and asset freezes because, as one of the EU’s smallest states, the island does not have the organisational capacity to review them quickly.
A demonstration in support of George Gavriel, an artist and teacher at a state high school who has come under fire after releasing some of his latest paintings on social media, took place on Friday afternoon in front of the education ministry in Nicosia.
Some of his works are religion-themed with one depicting a naked Jesus and another a dog urinating on the archbishop.
The paintings have been branded inappropriate and, as a result, the government has already launched a disciplinary inquiry on his work.
Around 250 people wearing masks, took part in the demonstration, with placards, and united in what they consider to be “an affront to the basic human right of freedom of expression in Cyprus.”
“What has happened to Gavriel is outrageous for a democratic country,” said Maria, a teacher from Nicosia who participated in the demonstration.
“What we are witnessing is a clear failure to separate matters of state from matters of the church, a trend that is sadly more and more common with the current government.”
Heavy criticism was also directed at Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou, who according to another demonstrator, Loucas, a fine arts student at the University of Nicosia, “has failed to fulfil his role in an impartial and detached attitude.”
“Sometimes we forget how backwards Cyprus still is in such matters,” he said.
“Prodromou has apparently forgotten that he is not just the education minister but also the minister of culture, which should prompt him to encourage critical thinking and not to act as a mouthpiece for the government and the church.”
The Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts (Ekate) has also expressed its support to Gavriel, after it released a statement on Friday calling the reaction to his works “an unacceptable attitude of the state regarding the freedom of expression.”
“It is sad to see that in a modern and democratic country we still witness such behaviours.
“Gavriel is a hard-working and devoted teacher, who has dedicated his life to passing on to his students the love for art. On top of that he promoted several activities and competitions among artists and students and supported every colleague who ever needed his help,” the statement said.
Moreover, Ekate argued that the government’s attitude denotes a complete disregard for freedom of expression.
“Freedom of expression is a basic human right and an essential element of art. Therefore, it is disturbing to see how voices are being silence and art is being censored,” the statement concluded.
However, not everyone agree with the demonstrators and with Ekate’s point of view regarding the matter.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II sent a letter to Prodromou claiming Gavriel “no longer deserves to educate students in Cyprus.”
In the letter, the archbishop assured Prodromou that “the Church’s intention is not to censor or restrict anyone’s freedom of expression.”
“However, in this case, the artist has far exceeded the limits of exercising his rights due to the vicious way he portrayed our Lord Jesus Christ. He has offended the sacred feelings of our people.”
“It is completely unacceptable to insult God in a country when Christian values are so deeply rooted within the community. That is why we humbly believe that Gavriel should resign from his job as it is impossible for him to continue working as a teacher,” the letter concluded.
On the same wavelength of the archbishop was the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights Maria Stylianou-Lottides, who said on Friday that the teacher “exceeded the limits to which freedom of expression is subject by law, and infringed the rights of others through his art.”
“Because of his unique role of both teacher and artist, Gavriel has failed to take into account the impact of his work, using Christ to shock, provoke and anger a considerable amount of people in Cyprus,” she said.
The draw for the Europa League’s third qualifying round and playoff round took place on Friday, with Apollon Limassol, Apoel Nicosia, and Anorthosis Famagusta finding out who they will be facing next.
In the third qualifying round, Anorthosis will take on Swiss side FC Basel. The game will take place in Switzerland.
In the same round, Apoel will face Bosnian side Zrinjski Mostar at home, while Apollon were drawn with Polish club Lech Poznan, also at home.
Should Apollon qualify, they will face the winner of the Charleroi (Belgium) versus Partizan (Serbia) match. The Limassol club will play away from home.
If Anorthosis make it past Basel, they will have a home game against the winner of the CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria) versus B36 Tórshavn (Faroe Islands) match.
Finally, should they make it to the playoff round, Apoel will also have an away game to contend with, facing one of FCSB (Romania) and Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic).
U.S. President Donald Trump offered to pardon Julian Assange if the WikiLeaks founder provided the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a London court was told on Friday.
Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said she observed a meeting where former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Charles Johnson, an associate known to have close ties to the Trump campaign, made the offer.
“The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr. Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some form of pardon,” Robinson said in a witness statement given to the court.
Australian-born Assange, 49, is fighting to stop being sent to the United States, where he is charged with conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law over the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.
PwC Cyprus presented its financial results for 2020 during its Annual Meeting, which was held on Friday, 18 September. The organisation’s net revenues for the financial year ended June 2020, reached €82.3m, while its contribution to government revenues amounted to €30.6m.
Prioritising the safety and wellbeing of its people and making use of its strong technological infrastructure, the organisation’s meeting was carried out for the first time, entirely online. It focused on the organisation’s strategy and the recent developments in the various sectors of its activity, while more than 1,000 of PwC’s people were given the opportunity to follow the meeting as it happened. The CEO of PwC Cyprus Mr Evgenios Evgeniou welcomed the Finance Minister Mr Constantinos Petrides with whom they discussed the recent developments in the economy sector, as well as the Ministry’s strategy for dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and restarting the economy.
PwC’s Annual Meeting was also joined by Mr Warwick Hunt, EMEA Executive team Leader and Managing Partner of PwC UK and Sir John Sawers, Executive Chairman of Newbridge Advisory and Former Head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), who referred to the geopolitical developments post-Covid-19. Marking the recent publication of his book “TEN YEARS TO MIDNIGHT: Four Urgent Global Crises and Their Strategic Solutions”, Mr Blair Sheppard, PwC’s Global Leader for Strategy and Leadership analysed the four crises that the world must urgently deal with and their solutions.
In his speech, Mr Evgeniou expressed his satisfaction for the positive course of PwC Cyprus, emphasizing that this has been a joint effort from all team members. “Our positive results in a challenging year is proof of the quality of the services we offer as an organisation, supporting our clients every day in every challenge,” he stressed.
As part of its objective to further reinforce and develop the investment services it offers, PwC welcomed Omiros Pissarides last April as the CEO of PwC Investment Services (Cyprus) Limited. PwC also announced the appointment of Andreas Andronicou and Martha Lambrou as Partners in Tax Services, as of 1 January 2021.
PwC’s Cyprus Annual Review 2020, which includes the financial results but also an overview of the organisation’s main actions, is available on the website www.pwc.com.cy/annual-review.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said on Friday his forces would let oil production resume after an eight-month blockade and a senior politician in Tripoli said a committee would be formed to ensure fair distribution of revenues.
However, National Oil Corporation (NOC), which operates Libya’s energy sector, said overnight it would not lift force majeure on exports until oil facilities were demilitarised.
The blockade by eastern forces has cost Libya $9 billion (6.95 billion pounds) in lost revenue so far this year, the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya said this week. The stoppage has become a big obstacle to new efforts to seek a path forwards in peace talks after Haftar’s assault on Tripoli collapsed in June.Libya and many of its state institutions have been split for years between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east.
“It was decided to resume production and export of oil with all the necessary conditions and procedural measures that ensure a fair distribution of its financial revenues,” Haftar said in a televised broadcast.
In Tripoli, the GNA’s deputy prime minister, Ahmed Maiteeg, issued a statement immediately after Haftar’s speech also saying it “had been decided” to resume oil production and adding this would involve a new committee to oversee revenue distribution.
The committee would coordinate between the two sides to prepare a budget and transfer funds to cover payments and deal with the public debt, he said.
GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said on Wednesday he planned to step down by the end of October and analysts have said this would lead to political jockeying among other senior figures in Tripoli to succeed him.
However, neither Haftar nor Maiteeg addressed the presence of LNA and allied foreign forces in oil production and export facilities, which NOC has said must be withdrawn to ensure the safety of its staff before it will resume output.