Patriarch Beshara Rai, left, receives former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Rome, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called after talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Rome Monday night for consensus on a new president as the only way to break the nearly 5-month-old political deadlock."Following the talks with Patriarch Rai, we as March 14 parties must search for names [of presidential candidates] that can ensure consensus among the political parties," Hariri said.He reiterated the Future Movement's rejection of holding parliamentary elections before a president is elected. Hariri said he had discussed with Rai the security problems in Lebanon.The talks were followed by a closed meeting between Hariri and Rai.Rai hosted a dinner for Hariri and his aides.Earlier Monday, Hariri warned that Lebanon was choking under the burden of some 1.3 million Syrian refugees, constituting one third of its population, while striving to combat terrorism spilling over from the Syrian conflict.
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