French Foreign Ministry official Jean Francois Giraud, center, and French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli, right, arrive at the foreign ministry in Beirut, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)
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The 6-month-old presidential election issue has moved from a stalemate to a more flexible phase amid expectations to bring this crisis out of a deadlock after influential regional powers became convinced of the need to insulate Lebanon from regional conflicts, according to sources familiar with a senior French official's recent visit to Beirut.Girault, according to the sources, was told by Iranian officials that Tehran supported the idea of distancing Lebanon from the region's problems after the Iranians said they considered the presidential vote a Lebanese affair that should be discussed with their allies in Lebanon.After his talks in Beirut, the French official has set up an "information data" about the attitudes and proposals of Lebanese political leaders on ways to break the deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for more than six months, the sources said. The French envoy, who sees that a Lebanese compromise over the presidential crisis requires a joint Western-Iranian-Saudi approval, might visit Riyadh soon to be informed about the real Saudi stance on the Lebanese presidential vote, political sources told The Daily Star.
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