A clash between Soviet troops and Georgian militants left three people dead in the South Ossetia region as gun and mortar battles continued despite efforts to negotiate a cease-fire, Soviet news agencies reported Monday.

The official Tass news agency said the latest violence in the region, where more than 40 people have been killed in three months of fighting between Georgians and Ossetians, began when Georgian militants shelled the regional capital Tskhinvali with mortars Saturday night.On Sunday, Georgians attacked homes in three Ossetian villages, Tass said, and fighting was also reported in Georgian settlements in the region.

The weekend's renewed fighting came after a meeting Saturday between Georgian leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, partly to discuss the dispute in South Ossetia.