BEIRUT (AP) — France’s president says his country will stand against instability in Lebanon.

Francois Hollande spoke Sunday during a visit to Beirut after sectarian tensions flared in Lebanon over the assassination last month of a top anti-Syrian intelligence official.

“We are committed to give you guarantees regarding security, stability and the unity of Lebanon,” Hollande told reporters after meeting President Michel Suleiman.

The car bomb that killed the intelligence official stirred up deadly sectarian tensions in Lebanon, where Sunnis and Shiites are deeply divided over the Syrian civil war.

France, Lebanon’s one-time colonial ruler, still enjoys wide influence in the country and has about 900 peacekeepers deployed near the border with Israel.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.