File - French Foreign Ministry official Jean-François Girault, 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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French presidential envoy Jean-Francois Girault is scheduled to visit Beirut early this week in a new attempt aimed at ending the political deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for over eight months.However, Girault's visit, the second to Lebanon in less than two months as part of a French initiative designed to prod rival Lebanese leaders to agree on a consensus president, comes amid bleak prospects for breaking the presidential impasse after Iran refused to respond favorably to the French efforts, diplomatic sources said. Despite the gloomy prospects over the presidential election, as a result of Iran's reluctance to respond favorably to the French initiative by referring Girault to its allies in Lebanon, the diplomat disclosed that the French envoy might be carrying a new proposal to discuss with Lebanese officials that could help break the deadlock.However, a Lebanese source in contact with Girault told The Daily Star that the French envoy's new visit does not entail more than France's insistence on proceeding with its initiative over Lebanon's presidential election and sounding out the views of Lebanese leaders in light of the ongoing dialogue among rival factions.
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