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France vows to aid Lebanon with stability

BEIRUT — France’s president pledged Sunday that his country will stand against instability in Lebanon, two weeks after the assassination of a senior Lebanese intelligence official sparked clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian groups.

Later in Saudi Arabia, Francois Hollande held further talks on Syria with King Abdullah, whose country has been a leading supporter of the forces trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad of Syria.

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In Beirut, Hollande promised that Paris and the European Union will help Lebanon deal with an influx of more than 100,000 refugees who have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria.

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

The Oct. 19 car bomb that killed Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, a powerful anti-Syrian intelligence official, stirred up deadly sectarian tensions in Lebanon, where Sunnis and Shi’ites are deeply divided over the civil war in Syria, which has killed at least 36,000 people since it began in March 2011. Lebanon’s two largest political coalitions have lined up on opposite sides of the conflict. The powerful Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its partners who dominate the Lebanese government have stood by Assad, while Lebanon’s Sunni-led opposition backs the rebels seeking to topple the Damascus regime.

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