BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai has lent support for the planned dialogue between the country’s two rival Christian leaders, describing it as an “important step” toward ending the deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for more than seven months, Bkirki officials said Friday.

“Patriarch Rai has given his blessing to the [upcoming] meeting between Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and MP Michel Aoun and considers it to be an important step toward breaking the presidential impasse,” Hares Chehab, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian National Dialogue Committee, told The Daily Star.