Lebanese officials hold their third round of talks with Israel today (Jan. 3) on the withdrawal of the Israeli invasion force amid reports of continued shelling between rival Lebanese factions in the northern city of Tripoli.
State-run Beirut Radio said heavy clashes Jan. 1 between pro-Syrian and anti-Syrian militia groups in Tripoli have subsided into sniping and occasional artillery fire. Unconfirmed reports said about 30 people were killed in the gunfire.
Two rounds of talks between Lebanon and Israel last week in the Lebanese town of Khalde and the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Shemona failed to produce agreement even on an agenda. The talks are deadlocked over Israel's demand to discuss ''normalization'' of ties with Lebanon, the order of items on the agenda , and the status of a US delegation also attending the talks. Beirut newspapers say delegates hope the Americans will come up with a compromise before today's session.
Meanwhile, in Tunis, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat said in an interview that the PLO will not drop its ''military option'' because the Reagan administration will never put pressure on Israel.
Mr. Arafat made no direct comment on President Reagan's Middle East peace plan, but declared the PLO will ''back any positive point in the peace initiatives that were put forward.'' The Reagan initiative calls for autonomy for the Palestinians of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan. It was rejected by Israel.