TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS, NOV. 6 -- In a move designed to lower their profile in Honduras, Nicaraguan rebels have closed some of their offices here in conjunction with yesterday's implementation of the first stage of a Central American peace plan.
In addition, rebel officials in Honduras have been told to avoid publicity that could embarrass the Honduran government, which is obligated to stop insurgent operations against Nicaragua under the terms of the accord, according to rebel sources.
Some rebel sources indicated, however, that the offices could be reopened depending on the progress of the peace plan.
Most rear bases of the rebels, known as contras, and logistical centers in Honduras are still in operation, although some small outposts have been moved into Nicaragua in the past two days. The contras hope to move more of those operations out of Honduras in the coming weeks, the same sources said.
"We are taking strong measures to protect the government of Honduras," one rebel said. "There is no pressure . . . . We are doing this of our own free will. We have no desire to cause problems for Honduras."
Under the terms of the accord, which took partial effect yesterday, all Central American countries are prohibited from allowing their territory to be used by insurgents fighting the governments of neighboring countries.
The Honduran government's position is that it cannot expel the contras until Nicaragua has complied fully with the peace plan and negotiated a cease-fire with the rebels, granted full amnesty to political prisoners and lifted the state of emergency in effect there.
A spokesman for Honduran President Jose Azcona said today that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's speech last night offering indirect talks with the contras "was a positive step toward complying with the accord."
But the spokesman said it would be necessary to wait for the report of the international verification commission, formed to determine compliance with the accord, to decide if Nicaragua's actions meet Honduras' conditions for expelling the contras.