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The latest crisis over the government's controversial foreign policy that has strained Lebanon's relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states has wrecked chances for any imminent breakthrough in the presidential election, further extending the 21-month-long vacuum in the country's top Christian post, political analysts said Friday. Worse still, opposing presidential initiatives launched by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea to nominate rival candidates for the presidency have been put on hold for now until a solution is found to the row with Saudi Arabia, they said. Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanon's former ambassador to the United States, said the election of a president has been put aside for now, pending a solution to the diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia.Nader rejected the notion that regional and international powers would intervene after the crisis with Riyadh is solved to exert pressure on local players in Lebanon to elect a president.However, the unexpected row over the Saudi aid halt has overshadowed Hariri's presidential efforts.Seeking to contain the grave economic impact of the Saudi aid freeze, the Lebanese Cabinet Monday issued a statement aimed at reassuring Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states of Lebanon's commitment to Arab unanimity and causes.
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