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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03TEGUCIGALPA1933 2003-08-15 14:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

CJCS GENERAL MYERS MEETS WITH HONDURAN MINISTER OF

Tags:   OVIP MARR MASS MOPS PREL PGOV SNAR HO 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TEGUCIGALPA 001933 

SIPDIS

CJCS FOR GENERAL MYERS
STATE FOR PM, INL, WHA, WHA/CEN, AND WHA/PPC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2013
TAGS: OVIP MARR MASS MOPS PREL PGOV SNAR HO
SUBJECT: CJCS GENERAL MYERS MEETS WITH HONDURAN MINISTER OF
DEFENSE AND CJCS TO THANK GOH; DISCUSSES REGIONAL ISSUES

REF: TEGUCIGALPA 1868

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., Roger D. Pierce;
Reasons 1.5 (B) and (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: On August 13, after a meeting with Honduran
President Ricardo Maduro, CJCS General Myers met separately
with Minister of Defense Federico Breve, Honduran CJCS
General Barahona, and other senior military officials to
discuss issues of bilateral importance and to thank Honduras
for its strong support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
including its troop contribution to that effort, and the
signing and ratification of an ICC Aricle 98 Agreement.
Among the particular issues discussed were Iraq,
narcotrafficking, regional disarmament, and the modernization
of the Honduran Armed Forces. The Honduran military is proud
of its planned role in Iraq, supportive of greater USG-GOH
cooperation in counternarcotics, and firmly opposed to any
linkage of Nicaraguan MANPADS and Honduran F-5's. END SUMMARY



2. (U) CJCS General Myers, accompanied by Mr. Hanley, CPT
Hunt, COL Ross, LCDR Cheever, and COL Gonzalez, and from the
Embassy Charge, DATT, MILGP Commander, and PolMilOff
(notetaker), met August 13 with Honduran Minister of Defense
Federico Breve, Vice Minister of Defense Perez, CJCS General
Barahona, Vice CJCS GEN Andino, Inspector General GEN
Maldonado, Army Commanding General COL Vasquez, Air Force
Commanding General COL Caceres, and Navy Commanding General
COL Mejia. The meeting took place at the Casa Presidencial.



--------------------------



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Breve Highlights Risks in Iraq and Changing Role of Military


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) MOD Breve began the session by outlining the areas
that the Government of Honduras (GOH) has worked closely with
the USG over the last couple of months, including providing
troops to OIF and signing and ratifying an ICC Article 98
Agreements with the United States. He again reiterated that
this came at a political cost to the Maduro Administration as
well as put Honduras at heightened risk of terrorist attack,
but that Honduras was prepared to accept these risks in
support of U.S. policy objectives. MOD Breve also stated
that the GOH has considered the ramifications of taking
casualties in Iraq in support of the war against terror and
that they were prepared for that eventuality.



4. (C) MOD Breve then outlined for General Myers the dramatic
changes the Honduran Armed Forces (HOAF) had been through
over the last few years. He began with the budget process
and spending which was now a transparent process compared to
the past when it was undisclosed. He mentioned that this
process has helped the HOAF spend its limited resources more
wisely. He also mentioned that having the HOAF under
civilian leadership has been a positive development both for
the HOAF and democracy in Honduras.

5.(C) MOD Breve discussed the changing missions and role of
the HOAF in Honduras. He stated that respect for human
rights and democracy was now firmly entrenched in the HOAF
and that the institution as a whole was rapidly becoming more
professional. MOD Breve went on to note that this process
was very important for the HOAF and its reconciliation with
the Honduran people. To cement these institutional changes,
Breve mentioned that the HOAF would like to establish a
defense university similar to the National Defense University
in the United States. Breve then outlined the new missions
the HOAF was involved in including: disaster relief, the
fight against narcotrafficking; fighting crime; helping to
protect the environment; educational programs; health care;
and helping to eradicate diseases such as dengue.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Honduran Military Committed to Counternarcotics Fight


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) MOD Breve stated the HOAF was committed to the fight
against narcotrafficking and recent success demonstrated
this. However, Breve indicated that increased information
sharing and more resources were necessary for success. He
noted that Honduras was still looking for more substantial
support from the USG in this area.


--------------------------



--------------------------


General Myers Expresses Gratitude for Honduran Support


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. (C) General Myers thanked Breve and the HOAF for its
support of OIF and noted that Honduras was among the some 40
other nations that have come together to provide the Iraqi
people the chance for a better life. General Myers
acknowledged that the Honduran deployment of troops in
support of OIF was a "big deal" and that it was noticed at
the highest levels of the USG, raising Honduras' profile.
General Myers reiterated his confidence that the Honduran
troops would do well in Iraq due to their good training and
competent leadership. General Myers stated that all
democracies face the threat of terrorism and have a stake in
the current security environment and that the GOH was a solid
partner in this effort. General Myers also thanked MOD Breve
for his continued support of Joint Task Force Bravo. Note:
Five hundred fifty-eight U.S. service men and women and eight
civilian DOD employees are stationed at Honduras' Soto Cano
Air Base under the auspices of SOUTHCOM as Joint Task Force
Bravo. End Note.



8. (C) General Myers congratulated MOD Breve on Honduras'
effort to create a national defense university, suggesting
that this type of education helps to bring together "the big
picture." General Myers offered USG assistance and directed
Breve to the Country Team if he wanted to pursue this offer.



9. (C) Charge also congratulated Breve and the HOAF on its
recent successes in the fight against narcotrafficking,
stating that the Embassy was pleased with their efforts.
Charge also indicated that the Embassy was looking for ways
to better assist the HOAF in their efforts.



--------------------------


Regional Disarmament and Integration


--------------------------





10. (C) Breve stated that the countries of Central America
needed to act with a more regional focus rather than
unilaterally when approaching the many problems the region
faces, such as narcotrafficking. Breve noted that this
process was complicated and slow, but that it needed to be
done. Breve also called for greater information sharing on
the part of the USG.



11. (C) Breve expressed his displeasure with the recent
meeting in Nicaragua to discuss regional disarmament, feeling
that the USG was putting pressure on Honduras to give up its
fleet of F-5's as a tradeoff for Nicaragua eliminating its
stockpile of Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).
Breve indicated that he did not have an agenda for the
meeting or know PM Assistant Secretary of State Bloomfield or
WHA Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Fisk planned on
attending the meeting, suggesting he felt somewhat ambushed
on the issue. Note: In fact, Charge had told both Breve and
Acting Foreign Minister Anibal Quinonez, who also attended
the meeting, that both A/S Bloomfield and DAS Fisk would be
present. End Note.



12. (C) Breve said he understood USG concerns about MANPADS
but that that was between the U.S. and the Government of
Nicaragua. He indicated that Honduras was ready to discuss
F-5's, but only in the context of regional disarmament, not
as a precondition for reducing Nicaragua's stockpile of
MANPADS. General Myers let MOD Breve know that while in
Nicaragua, the F-5 issue was never raised. He said the
MANPADS threat was an issue of bilateral importance between
the USG and Nicaragua.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Cooperation and Assistance Welcomed; F-5's for MANPADS Not


--------------------------



--------------------------




13. (C) Comment: General Myers' meeting with MOD Breve,
General Barahona, and the top Honduran military brass was a
well-received outcome of the GOH's strong support for the USG
in Iraq and on Article 98. The visit, coming as the last of
the Honduran troops were departing for Iraq via training in
Spain, was also a concrete example to the Honduran public of
the gratitude the U.S. has for Honduran assistance in
Operation Iraqi Freedom. The HOAF is sober about the
situation in Iraq and possible casualties for Honduran
troops, but is proud of its planned role. Breve's call for
more USG assistance for the military for counternarcotics is
not new, but will continue. Regional disarmament is a
somewhat pricklier issue for Breve and the GOH, who are
strongly opposed to any link between Nicaraguan MANPADS and
Honduran F-5's, which they see as a non-starter. End Comment.
Pierce