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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03TEGUCIGALPA2022
2003-08-26 21:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

SECRETARY RUMSFELD'S MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MADURO

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 02 TEGUCIGALPA 002022 

SIPDIS

SECDEF FOR SECRETARY RUMSFELD
STATE FOR PM, INL, WHA, WHA/CEN, AND WHA/PPC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2013
TAGS: OVIP MARR MASS MOPS PREL PGOV SNAR HO
SUBJECT: SECRETARY RUMSFELD'S MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MADURO
AND MOD BREVE IN HONDURAS

Classified By: Ambassador Larry Palmer;
Reasons 1.5 (B) and (D).



1. (C) Summary: Secretary Rumsfeld met on 20 August with
President Maduro and MOD Breve. SECDEF made the following
points: (a) the U.S. appreciated Honduras' steadfast
support and friendship as demonstrated by the Article 98
agreement and the deployment of a battalion to Iraq. (b)
the U.S. supports Central American regional cooperation in
the security field, including maritime interdiction. (c)
inviting USSOUTHCOM to be an observer at the Conference of
Central American Armed Forces (CFAC) could be helpful. (d)
SECDEF agreed with MOD Breve that Nicaragua's SA-7's are a
serious problem, but that eliminating them should not be
linked to reducing Honduras' Air Force. (e) the USG would
carefully consider bilateral issues raised by Honduras, e.g.,
the purchase of UH-1H helicopters and a solution to the Cerro
la Mole radar issue. President Maduro and MOD Breve made
the following points: (a) deployment of forces to Iraq is
for Honduras a matter of both friendship and principle. (b)
Central American regional cooperation is important to
Honduras to reduce tensions and to promote regional offensive
arms reductions. (c) MOD Breve argued for more generous
U.S. financial terms for the UH-1H helicopters and for
maintaining/repairing the Cerro la Mole radar. (d) he
announced that USSOUTHCOM would be invited into CFAC as an
observer by the end of the year. End summary.



2. (C) U.S.-Honduran Solidarity: Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld had a meeting and luncheon with Honduran President
Ricardo Maduro, accompanied by MOD Federico Breve, in
Tegucigalpa on 20 August. SECDEF expressed appreciation for
Honduras' early signature and ratification (first in the
hemisphere) of an Article 98 Agreement, an important issue of
U.S. sovereignty. He also thanked Maduro for the Honduran
deployment of a battalion of infantry and military police to
Iraq. President Maduro said the latter is a matter of both
traditional friendship and principle. The U.S., he said, has
always been a friend to Honduras in support of its social
progress, reforms, and democracy. SECDEF described the
situation in Iraq as difficult but improving.



3. (C) Regional Cooperation: President Maduro stressed the
importance to Honduras of Central American regional
cooperation. Especially for a small country, regional
economic integration and participation in the global
community are essential to Honduras' future. Honduras is
promoting regional security cooperation especially with El
Salvador and Nicaragua, both to reduce tensions and to
further opportunities for disarmament. SECDEF supported
this, pointing to the likely synergy from, e.g., cooperation
in interdicting drugs along the coasts. He cited the
Hemispheric Maritime Cooperation Initiative he had announced
at the November Ministerial in Chile. SECDEF also noted that
USSOUTHCOM participation as an observer in CFAC could be
helpful substantively and as a catalyst. MOD Breve replied
that USSOUTHCOM would be invited by the end of the year.



4. (C) Domestic Issues. President Maduro emphasized his
domestic fight against crime. He had championed campaign
finance reform in order to limit drug-related money in
politics. "We don't want to end up like Colombia," he said
(though he had nothing but praise for President Uribe). He
spoke at length about the new law outlawing gangs. There are
something like 25-40,000 gang members in Honduras committing
murder, extortion, and other crimes.



5. (C) Bilateral Issues. The future of the Cerro la Mole
radar was discussed. MOD Breve said it is needed to combat
drug trafficking. SECDEF replied that we need to know better
whether, given the air picture and information-sharing we
have from JIATF-South, this radar is really worth the cost.
It was agreed that the question needed to be examined,
together, on a comprehensive basis. On a second issue, the
six UH-1H helicopters whose cost had soared because of U.S.
regulations, it was agreed to continue to discuss it.



6. (U) OSD staff drafted this message; SECDEF has read and
cleared.
PALMER