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The German Unification Treaty

In order that the GDR (German Democratic Republic) could be represented in the negotiations with a democratic mandate, free elections were held there on 18 March 1990, the first in 40 years. Lothar de Maizieare became the head of a grand coalition made up of the CDU, DSU, DA, SPD and FDP. With him the Bonn government agreed on a time-table for economic, monetary and social union with effect from 1 July 1990, it having become palpably clear that the GDR had no economic basis on which to continue alone, and that the majority of the people in the GDR wanted accession to the Federal Republic.

In August the Volkskammer (East German parliament) voted in favour of accession as soon as possible, and on 31 August GDR State Secretary Gunter Krause and Wolfgang Schauble, Federal Minister of the Interior, were able to sign the 'Unification Treaty'. Thus on 3 October 1990 the German Democratic Republic officially acceded to the Federal Republic in accordance with article 23 of the Basic Law.

The East German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia became states (Lander) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin was made the capital and the Basic Law, after appropriate amendments, applied to the former GDR as well.

The road to unity had been opened by Mikhail Gorbachev, who had given his approval after talks with Chancellor Kohl in Moscow and the Caucasian town of Stavropol in July 1990. He did so on condition that the Federal Republic would forgo NBC weapons and reduce its forces to 370,000, and that NATO's military organization would not be extended to GDR territory so long as Soviet forces remained stationed there. The two leaders also agreed that the Soviet troops would be withdrawn from East Germany by the end of 1994, and that the Federal Republic would provide financial support for their repatriation. Mr Gorbachev's agreement also meant that the so-called Two-plus-Four Treaty could also be signed. Within that framework the Soviet Union, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, as well as the representatives of the two German states, confirmed the unification of Germany consisting of the territories of the former GDR, the Federal Republic and Berlin. Germany's external borders were recognized as definitive. Bonn and Warsaw concluded a separate treaty to take account of Poland's special security needs in the light of history. The two sides agreed to respect each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The ratification of the Unification Treaty and the Two-plus-Four Treaty marked the termination of the rights and responsibilities of the four victorious powers 'with respect to Berlin and Germany as a whole'. Germany thus regained complete sovereignty over her internal and external affairs which she had lost 45 years previously with the fall of the nazi dictatorship.

Germany grows together
Following the restoration of national unity and the tremendous geopolitical changes that have taken place in connection with the disintegration of the communist systems of eastern Europe, Germany and her partners face completely new challenges. The reconstruction process in the new German states must be vigorously continued so that the country's internal unity can be completed. Europe must develop into a political union. And a global architecture of peace and security must be created.

National, European and global responsibilities are inseparably linked together. Eastern Germany's recovery and consolidation cannot take place unless it is closely bound up with the process of European integration. Europe, on the other hand, cannot acquire its new structure unless it is open to the reformist countries of central and eastern Europe. The countries of the shattered eastern European community must be brought into a close relationship with the common European and Atlantic organizations not only economically but politically as well. The completion of German unity using the nation-state approach of the past is just as inconceivable as creating a 'Fortress Europe' to shut out the nations of Asia or the Third World.

The larger Germany is seeking to do justice to her correspondingly larger ooperation in close union with her European and atlantic partners. Her aim, in the words of President Richard von Weizsacker, is 'to serve world peace as part of a united Europe'. And Chancellor Helmut Kohl has emphasized that the country will con- tinue to fulfil that role within the ambit of the western alliance. 'The Alliance', he said, 'which has safeguarded our peace and freedom for decades, can rely on our support.' The government is also prepared to increase Germany's involvement in UN peace-keeping measures.

Global assistance. Germany's assistance for the nations of central and eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union is in itself an indication of her willingness to involve herself both bilaterally and in the multilateral framework. Since 1989 she has provided DM 37.5 billion for the reform process in central and eastern Europe. The amount made available for Russia and the other successor states of the Soviet Union in the same period is DM 87.55 billion - more than the assistance provided by all western countries together. In addition, Germany contributes, for instance, 28% towards the European Community's aid effort for Yugoslavia, and she has taken in nearly half of all the refugees from the war zones in that country.

Compared with the other west European countries, the proportion of asylum-seekers who came to Germany last year was more than 70%. In 1992 some eight billion marks had to be spent on accommodation and care alone. In spite of drastic cuts in public spending, Germany will maintain her present level of development assistance for developing countries. She is the third largest contributor to the United Nations, a fact which underscores the Government's determination to continue her policy of helping to promote stability and safeguard peace in the bilateral and multilateral framework.

Germany's contribution to stability in central and eastern Europe, and in the newly independent states, is not confined to financial assistance. Great efforts are also being made to further the process of democratization and free-market reform. The financial input has been augmented by the provision of large numbers of experts and the offer of training courses. And in providing assistance for developing countries, too, the government is aiming not only to improve the economic but also the social and political conditions of the local popultions. Protection for human rights is one of the government's chief criteria when it comes to disbursing development assistance.

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