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Passport blues

Passport blues

The Editor,

In the Phnom Penh Post, issue of 6 -19 September, 1996, the article on "Illegal

passport trade 'threatens security'," at some point misquotes me, and is a little

bit unfair to me, hence putting me in an uneasy position. Therefore, I wish to make

the things clear as follows:

As far as the competence to issue Cambodian passports is concerned, I just mentioned

that:

a. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues only official and diplomatic passports

to the government officials and high personalities of Cambodia at official request

of the state institution concerned;

b. the Ministry of Interior issues ordinary passports to Cambodian citizens. The

MOI sets up procedural and other substantive requirements for the passport application

such as: application forms, IDs and family bood types; face-to-face interviews; photos.

I further said that the high-ranking officials of the MOI may waive the face-to-face

interview requirements for those Cambodian citizens who are unable to come in person,

due to valid reason. I did not remember stating about "loopholes exist[ing]

at the MOI...."

I did not specifically criticise the MOI for slow replies. I only talked about the

delay caused by bureaucracy in the country.

Mention was only made that the lack of prompt reply to the complaints or requests

of foreign competent authorities made us lose a precious chance to ask for their

assistance in confiscating and apprehending the holders of the illegal passports

which should have been crucial to the case, because they could not detain the documents

of suspected figures longer than allowed by laws and without valid ground.

- Pech Sokhem, Official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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