Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to discuss with the Parliament’s Bureau on Monday complaints that Special Passports are being granted to people not entitled to get them in contravention with the Vienna Convention that regulates diplomatic relations.
Berri brought up the issue with President Michel Suleiman and Premier Najib Miqati after he learned that high-ranking military personnel, judges, advisors of ministers and even some journalists and clergymen were being granted the passports, An Nahar daily said.
Special Passports are restricted to ministers, current and former lawmakers and directors-general.
Both the majority and opposition MPs agreed during the last meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee to strengthen the rules and prevent those not entitled to the passports from receiving them, the newspaper said.
It quoted informed sources as saying that efforts are exerted to adopt a draft-law that would limit the Official or Diplomatic Passport to heads of state and the current speaker and prime minister.
The draft-law would also allow the heads of Christian and Muslim religious sects to receive the Official Passport, while ministers and current and former MPs would be granted the Special Passports.
Discussion is also underway whether to keep the Special Passports with judges, the sources said.
They added that a director-general or a judge or a top military officer would be granted a Mission Passport if the person involved is on an official mission abroad on condition that the Foreign Ministry and the General Security Department take strong measures while granting this type of passports and limit their validity to the date of the mission.
The draft-law would also stress that Diplomatic Passports would remain with the members of the diplomatic corps as stated by the 1961 Vienna Convention, the sources stressed.
According to An Nahar, the Central Bank has copies of around 7,000 Special Passports that are being delivered to the Foreign Ministry based on official recommendations from it.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/33845|