Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon and Honduran army chief Gustavo Alvarez have held talks which may have laid the groundwork for closer military co-operation between Israel and Honduras.
GV Motorcade passing through streets of Honduran capital
GVs Armed troops watch as Sharon leaves building (4 shots)
SCU Sharon speaking to reporters (SOUND ON TAPE Hebrew speech)
SV Armed soldiers
GV Motorcade driving off from Presidential palace, and passing through streets (2 shots)
SV Armed soldiers outside on street
SV Sharon arriving at Israeli embassy reception in evening, amid heavy security (4 shots)
GV Guests at reception
SV General Alvarez Martinez seated with wife at dinner table with Sharon (2 shots)
GVs Sharon's table (2 shots)
SV Soldiers passing through gate at embassy
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Background: Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon and Honduran army chief Gustavo Alvarez have held talks which may have laid the groundwork for closer military co-operation between Israel and Honduras. General Sharon arrived in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa on December 7 in the first visit to the Latin American country by an Israeli Cabinet Minister. Accompanied by Israeli Air Force Chief David Ivry, the visit is seen as part of Israel's campaign to win friends in the region. Mr. Sharon's arrival came just two days after U.S. President Reagan visited the country on the last leg of his Latin American tour. Apart from military leaders, Mr. Sharon also spoke with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordoba and Foreign Minister Edgardo Paz Barnica. Afterwards, Mr. Sharon would not give reporters details of what discussions took place. However, it is understood they centred on increasing military co-operation and explored the possibility of elevating diplomatic ties to full resident ambassadorial level. General Alvarez was a guest at a reception given by Mr. Sharon at the Israeli Embassy. Israeli military ties with Honduras, the closest ally of the United States in Central America, date back to 1977 when Israel sold a squadron of French-built super Mystery combat aircraft to the Honduran Air Force. This turned it into the most powerful air force in the region. Since then, several dozen Honduran pilots and aircraft technicians have been trained in Israel and Israel has supplied spare parts for the Mysteries and three Israeli-made Arava troop transports sold in a later deal. There has been speculation among diplomatic sources that the visit by Mr. Sharon may have been partly to arrange further military sales by Israel to Honduras.