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Honduras: U.S. Troops Can Leave Soon

President Azcona Says Nicaraguan Forces Are Already Retreating

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras--President Jose Azcona said yesterday the 3200 U.S. soldiers on an emergency mission in Honduras probably will not be needed much longer because Nicaraguan troops are retreating from Honduran territory.

"Things are getting back to normal," Azcona said in an interview yesterday, a day after two Honduran warplanes fired rockets at Sandinista positions in a section of the disputed Bocay region that Honduras considers its territory.

"If there are no more incidents, the Americans will leave," Azcona said.

He declined to give details on the Sandinista pullback or be more specific on when the U.S. troops that arrived last week would depart.

Rep. G.V. Montgomery, (D-Miss.), a member of a congressional delegation visiting Honduras, said he expects the U.S. military personnel to pull out in about a week.

"I think it'll all be over by then," said Montgomery, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

American soldiers practiced military maneuvers yesterday at a Honduran airstrip about 20 miles from the Nicaraguan border.

"These guys are not going to get involved in any sort of conflict," said Maj. Gary Hovatter, spokesman for U.S. troops in the Central American nation.

The two Honduran warplanes bombed Nicaraguan positions Saturday afternoon in a rugged border area where President Jose Azcona was reinforcing troops to oust the Sandinista solidiers.

The Nicaraguan Defense Ministry said the raid was on Nicaraguan territory and caused no damage. Azcona, in a telephone interview, would neither confirm nor deny the attack, but the Honduran military said it occurred on the Honduran side of the ill-defined border.

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