By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 8 February 2013:
Deputy Minister Abdulsalam Al-Gadi revealed at Thursday’s press conference a copy of the new issue biometric Libyan passport.
Al-Gadi pulled out of his pocket a copy of the new blue coloured passport saying that now that the National Identity Number system had been completed and that Libya’s border points had been linked by computer, the new biometric passport based on the new National Identity Number, could be issued.
Nasseredine Ghulab, Head of the Technical and Cooperation Department at the Passports Department added that with computerisation and e-government, “the system will now be able to monitor all Libya’s border points, including taking a photograph of all foreigners arriving in Libya. The system will also be linked to all our overseas embassies.”
Ghulab also explained that soon “patrols stopping foreigners on the streets will be able to enquire the central database about their status quickly through SMS.” Ghulab went on to proudly announce that all this system was set up using only Libyan manpower.
Asked by the press to confirm the rumour that Mustafa Abdul Jalil, former head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), will be issued with the first passport, the Deputy Minister said he had no knowledge of this. But he thought it unlikely on account of the fact that all current old-type passports will remain valid and that the new passports would be phased in gradually.
Photographs of the new passport had been circulating for months on the internet and social media networks, but Thursday was the first occasion that the authorities displayed a copy of the new passport.