By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 7 March 2013:
The first part of an EU-funded border . . .[restrict]security package has gone live with a new passport control system at Tripoli airport.
The system, which has been in development since last September, allows the realtime checking of scanned passports, meaning that the documents can be checked against INTERPOL databases, to spot stolen or lost papers, as well as helping identify wanted persons, including terrorist suspects.
INTERPOL holds the records of 36 million missing travel documents shared by 166 countries which, it says, are consulted 50 million times a month by law enforcement agencies.
Senior EU and INTERPOL officials were at Tripoli airport yesterday to launch the new system as part of the EU’s €2.2 million border security project for Libya. “For the first time” said an EU spokesman, “the Libyan border control authorities will have the possibility to refer directly to the INTERPOL databases”.
The EU-funded project has three parts. The rolling-out of the realtime links to INTERPOL records at all land, air and sea border points is the most high profile. However the EU is also helping the Ministry of the Interior to boost intelligence-led criminal analysis at the Criminal Investigation Department. It is also sponsoring a study of transnational criminal and terrorist threats to Libya.
However, the new passport scanning system was not obviously in evidence when one regular visitor arrived yesterday at Tripoli airport, as he noticed no change to the checking of travel documents by immigration officials. [/restrict]