By Daniel Sneider, writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
WITH the signing of a treaty fully restoring the sovereignty of a unified Germany, "we have drawn a line under World War II and started keeping the time of a new era," Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said Wednesday.
The Germany treaty was followed by a less-noticed but perhaps equally significant pact - the initialing yesterday of a broad treaty of "good neighborly relations, partnership and cooperation," between Germany and the Soviet Union. Mr. Shevardnadze told reporters that other agreements on economic cooperation, science, technology, and arrangements for German financing of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from East Germany would follow.
Both Soviet and German leaders have imbued these ties with strategic significance, hinting that the Soviet-German relationship will be a vital axis in Europe.
"Our common task is to establish a new European order," West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said at the joint press conference of the two Germanys and the four allied powers of World War II.
"Our relations with East European neighbors and especially the Soviet Union are assuming new importance," which, he added, will be embodied in the German-Soviet treaty.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in an interview on Soviet television Wednesday, praised the pact with Germany. "All that we have accumulated during cooperation with the two German states should be retained and developed in relations with the united Germany, in the interests of our two peoples and in the interests of Europe and the world," he said, according to the Soviet news agency Tass.
In part, the agreements and the rhetoric surrounding them are the price that Bonn has to pay for Soviet acquiescence to German reunification. They are also what the Kremlin feels it needs to convince the Soviet people, whose fear of Germany is deeply embedded, that there is no threat from the German superstate. Mr. Gorbachev told the population that the Germans would pay some 15 billion marks ($9.5 billion) as part of the reunification deal. Most of the sum, 12 billion marks, is to pay for the cost of relocating and rehousing the 370,000 Soviet troops stationed in East Germany. According to treaty, those troops must leave by 1994. The remainder, Gorbachev said, will be direct financial aid.
He praised a German statement saying that Germany views Soviet soldiers who will remain until 1994 as "representatives of a friendly country. …