Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Germans Work out Treaty on Details for Reunification

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Germans Work out Treaty on Details for Reunification

Article excerpt

THE parliaments of East and West Germany are expected to ratify the finalblueprint for German unity perhaps as early as this week. The 900-page documentwas signed Friday by Wolfgang Schauble, the West German interior minister, andGunther Krause, East Germany's top unity negotiator.

Although reunification will not formally occur until Oct. 3, when EastGermany has agreed to merge with West Germany, the treaty provides the finalconsensus necessary to begin the task of reconciling the stark differencesbetween the two societies.

But Mr. Schauble warned that the treaty would not ease East Germany'sproblems overnight. "We will need time to repair the damage caused by decadesof communism," he said.

The document was a victory for West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, whoseconservative government was increasingly worried that East Germany's steadyeconomic collapse and growing social unrest would force a far-less-dignifiedunion. But the opposition Social Democrats also scored significant victories,forcing Mr. Kohl to back down on several key issues.

The treaty declares Oct. 3 a national holiday and Berlin the capital of areunited Germany, although where the government will actually sit has yet to beworked out.

Plans are under way for a nationwide unity celebration, with tolling churchbells, fireworks, speeches, and parades to mark the end of more than fourdecades of division. West German and East German lawmakers will sit together inthe Reichstag building for the first time in special session on unity day.

The treaty left many crucial decisions on uniting the two states to thegovernment that will be elected on Dec. 2.

The compromise treaty allows East Germany to retain its liberalabortion-on-demand law until at least 1992, the deadline for a united parliamentto come up with a new law for the entire nation. Kohl's conservative coalitiongovernment was forced to retreat from a demand that West German women who soughtabortions in East Germany after unity be subject to prosecution. …

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