Italian FM calls for consensus in Lebanon to break election deadlock

Italy's foreign minister said he was hopeful Lebanon will have a new president by next week's deadline and called on government and opposition leaders to reach a consensus in order to break the presidential election deadlock that threatens to rip the country apart. "We are trying for a new president who enjoys wide (popular) support on the basis of a consensus," Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema told reporters Saturday as he left Lebanon, winding up daylong talks with rival faction leaders. D'Alema's visit was the latest attempt by international officials to get the country's feuding factions to agree on the election of a president and avoid a dangerous power vacuum.