Ayrault and Bassil hold a joint news conference. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Gibran Bassil
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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday his country would do everything, including consultations with its Western partners, in an attempt to help end the political stalemate that has left Lebanon without a president for more than two years. Wrapping up a two-day visit to Lebanon dominated by talks on the presidential crisis, Ayrault, however, urged rival Lebanese leaders to assume their responsibilities to help find a solution to the power vacuum that has paralyzed the work of the government and Parliament. Ayrault disclosed that France has been in contact with Saudi Arabia and Iran to help find a solution to the presidential vacuum, but stressed that his country cannot decide for the Lebanese.In addition to the presidential deadlock, Ayrault's talks centered on the dire consequences of the presence of more than 1 million Syrian refugees on the country's security and weak infrastructure, and means of stepping up French material support. Ayrault said that France will allocate to Lebanon half of the 200 million euros ($220 million) France is giving to Syria's neighboring countries to establish a refugee welfare center.
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