April 22, 1996 in Nation/World

Lebanon Fighting Eases; Diplomats Talk

Compiled From Wire Services

Israeli gunboats and warplanes pounded south Lebanon and Hezbollah guerrillas fired more rockets into northern Israel Sunday. But the intensity of the 11-day-old Israel offensive diminished as diplomats strove to hammer out a cease-fire plan.

Police said four people were wounded in the hostilities, which were comparatively less fiery than over the previous 10 days - perhaps because of the diplomatic efforts or just the rainy weather.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher shuttled between Damascus and Jerusalem. The foreign ministers of Russia, France and Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, converged on Beirut after talks in Syria.

There were differences over which plan to adopt and who should mediate.

Israel turned down the Europeans and the Russians. Prime Minister Shimon Peres said after meeting Christopher on Sunday that he felt only the United States has the authority to mediate.

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