TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Jan. 8, 2013) -- U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske, the Commander of U.S. Southern Command, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly and other U.S. representatives meet with the President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Arturo Corrales, Honduran Ambassador to the U.S., Jorge Ramón Hernandez Alcerro, and Honduran Minister of Defense Marlon Pascua. The meeting was part of Kelly’s official visit to Honduras to discuss continued bilateral dialogue between the armed forces and explore future areas of military cooperation between both countries. (Photo courtesy of State Dept.)
MIAMI (Jan. 10, 2013) -- Marine Gen. John F. Kelly
, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, concluded a three-day trip to Honduras and El Salvador today where he met both nations’ leaders to discuss continued military cooperation.
This was Kelly’s first visit to Central America as commander of SOUTHCOM since assuming command in November. The trip provided an opportunity to continue U.S. military dialogue with both nations’ armed forces and explore future areas of cooperation.
During his Jan. 8 – 9 visit to Honduras, Kelly and other SOUTHCOM leaders met with
with the President of Honduras Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, Defense Minister Marlon Pascua, and the Chief of Joint Staff Gen. Rene Osorio. Kelly also met with U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske and the embassy staff. (See more on Kelly’s Honduras visit at the U.S. Embassy site
In El Salvador Jan. 9 – 10, Kelly and his staff met with the nation’s Minister of Defense, Jose Benitez and Maj. Gen. Cesar Acosta, El Salvador’s Chief of Defense. He also met with U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte.
Discussions in both countries centered on cooperation in combating transnational threats like organized crime and drug trafficking, response to natural disasters, and joint military training.
Kelly also met with U.S. service members located in both countries.
The U.S. military has a robust working relationship with both nations’ armed forces.
In Honduras, U.S. military forces are working with security forces there to support Operation Martillo
, the multinational effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along Central America. U.S. troops also routinely train with Honduran forces and take part in humanitarian efforts.
Joint Task Force-Bravo
– comprised of about 500 U.S. military personnel – is located at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base. The task force organizes multilateral exercises and supports, in cooperation with partner nations, humanitarian and civic assistance, counter drug, contingency and disaster relief operations in Central America.
In El Salvador, the U.S. military also works with the nation’s armed forces to support Operation Martillo. At the Comalapa International Airport, the U.S. military operates a Cooperative Security Location
where U.S. detection and monitoring aircraft fly missions to detect, monitor and track aircraft or vessels engaged in illicit drug trafficking. Both nations’ militaries also work together to support humanitarian missions and take part in multinational training exercises.
Salvadoran military forces also support security efforts elsewhere in world, including peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in Iraq, and international security-assistance efforts in Afghanistan.
More photos from Central America trip