Prime Minister Tammam Salam arrives at Jeddah airport, Monday, May 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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U.S. Ambassador David Hale urged rival Lebanese leaders Monday to elect a new president on schedule, while warning of the consequences of a vacuum in the country's top Christian post.The talks, attended by a ministerial delegation accompanying Salam, were believed to have touched on the presidential election.Hale discussed the presidential election crisis in separate meetings with President Michel Sleiman and Speaker Nabih Berri.Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, meanwhile, denied media reports that quoted him as saying that Hariri supported Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun as "a consensus candidate" for the presidency, saying the statement was taken out of context.Geagea said Aoun could not be viewed as a consensus candidate for the presidency in light of his political stances and alliances in recent years. Geagea said he explained to Hariri "very objectively" that Aoun was not behaving as a consensus candidate.Earlier, the LF office also refuted the reports that quoted Geagea as saying that Hariri backed Aoun as "a consensus candidate".
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