Bassil speaks during a press conference at the Interior Ministry in Beirut, Monday, June 4, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The decree, which will grant citizenship to 260 Christians and 115 Muslims, has caused an outcry in the country over the last week. As a result, Aoun tasked General Security head Maj. Caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk revealed that some names had been eliminated from the decree after the Lebanese government called for an investigation by the Lebanese Judicial Bulletin, the Internal Security Forces' Intelligence Branch and Interpol. While it is not uncommon for outgoing presidents to sign naturalization decrees, Aoun diverged from his predecessors by doing so halfway through his second year.Machnouk was not the only one to come out and speak about the decree.Bassil called for a "serious and quick investigation" to reveal any discrepancies and claimed the uproar over the decree was part of a "campaign" against Aoun.While the law does not stipulate that such decrees must be made public in the Official Gazette, Bassil called on General Security to publish the names included in the decree to dismiss rumors and offer public clarification.Although he said his ministry was not involved in the decree that does not carry the signature of the foreign minister, Bassil said he is tackling the issue out of the ministry's concern over who has the right to Lebanese citizenship.
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