Israel and PLO Meet On Extending Self-Rule

ISRAELI Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, pressing Palestinians to crack down on Muslim militants, said Wednesday the PLO and Israel were ``struggling very hard'' to keep their peace deal from collapse. Before talks with Chief PLO negotiator Nabil Shaath in Egypt, he said attacks on Israelis and the economic strife in Gaza were ``threatening'' the agreement on self-rule.

After Hamas gunmen killed one Israeli and wounded six Sunday in Gaza, Israel said the PLO must make a serious effort to suppress violence. The Palestinian Authority rounded up 40 Hamas activists for questioning, releasing all but five.

PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat also warned militants against carrying arms in public, Hamas members said Wednesday. A senior Palestinian security officer was quoted as saying PLO forces would act against those who carry arms or wear masks.

Israel and the PLO say they hope to reach accord by next week on extending powers to areas of the West Bank under Israeli rule. Serbs demand fuel from UN convoys

REBEL Bosnian Serbs have announced they will not allow UN peacekeeping convoys to cross their territory starting Thursday unless they hand over fuel, a UN Protection Force spokesman said Wednesday.

``It is blackmail, and we will not comply. It doesn't matter how much they want. We will not give them fuel,'' Maj. Rob Annink told reporters in response to the latest twist in the Serbs' increasing challenges to UNPROFOR.

Major Annink said UNPROFOR would continue applying for permission to run convoys, which go mainly to Muslim government enclaves under UN guard against Serb attack.

Serb forces have given no reason for their action. But Annink said fuel shortages caused by Yugoslavia's severing of links with its Bosnian Serb prots for rejecting an international peace plan would be ``a logical explanation.''

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