18. Juli 1990
"Foreign Ministers Talk to Press After Talks." Press conference by Foreign Ministers attending the 2-Plus-4 meeting.
Quelle: Public Diplomacy Query TL147864

Public Diplomacy Query
Title: "Foreign Ministers Talk to Press After Talks." Press conference by Foreign Ministers attending the 2-Plus-4 meeting. (900718)
FOREIGN MINISTERS TALKS TO PRESS AFTER TALKS (Transcript: 2-PLUS-4 News Conference) (8100)
PARIS -- Following is the transcript of the July 17 press conference by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, East German Foreign Minister Markus Meckel, Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze following the Two-Plus-Four meetings in Paris:
(Begin transcript)
DUMAS: Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to report on the work we have done today. There were three rounds, so to speak. In the morning we met, the two-plus-four, the six, the ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic Republic of Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the USSR. The second period was taken up by a working luncheon which included the minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland. And the third period or round this afternoon with the participation of the Polish minister. And during this third part of this meeting we dealt especially with Polish affairs and questions.
Now ladies and gentlemen, the process of the German reunification puts an end to the sorry period of the Cold War, the division of the German people, and the division of our European Continent. Of course, the reunification of Germany is something which that the German people themselves have to do, and we are happy to note that everything goes all right. But the fact that the partition of Germany was very hard to deal with and the legal situation after the Second World War give rise to, we had to take into account the external circumstances, the effects of such a reunification that was referred to in Strasbourg at the European Council meeting in December last year, on the initiative of the president of the French Republic. It has been said then that the problem of borders should be solved. That was the reason for which the group of the six has been set up. The six, the two- plus-four have already met in Bonn and Berlin. These two meetings clarified the issues. And it has been agreed in Berlin, for instance, that our goal should be to reach a consensus and cogency between the reunification of Germany and its regaining its sovereignty. And it has also been agreed that the group of six should end its work for the
GE 2 EUR308 summit of the CSCE to be held on the 19th of November in Paris.
I think we should be happy for the decisions taken since then in several institutions, that is, since our last meeting in Berlin. In particular, I refer to the summit meeting of the countries of the Atlantic Alliance, 5 and 6 July, which put a definitive end to the Cold War and established a new type of relations and security in Europe. That was started in London. and the recent meetings between Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Genscher in Moscow led to very substantial progress in relations between the Soviet Union and Germany, and a very important step was therefore taken in Moscow.
The ministers of Foreign Affairs, who met today in Paris, took note with great satisfaction of the common statement of Chancellor Kohl and Mr. Gorbachev. After these brief remarks on behalf of my country, I could say that there's no obstacle for a united Germany to be reestablished in its sovereignty before the end of the year. And it's in full conformity with what France asked for and negotiated for quite a long time. It's a very important step in the setting up of a solid and free Europe, entirely freed from past conflicts.
Now, today's meeting. A few words about that. This meeting is to be considered within this general framework and it enabled us to do away with several obstacles and therefore to make another and probably decisive step towards what we call a definitive settlement. We are agreed that Germany herself would decide on the role in the military and political systems that is to be found in the Final Act of Helsinki. The question of Soviet troops in the present territory of the GDR, that will be settled by a bilateral agreement between the USSR and the united Germany. It has been asked from our political directors to start drafting the final settlement I alluded to. But you understood it, I am sure. The main part of our meeting had to do with the problem of borders and especially Oder- Neisse border. The Polish foreign minister participated in that part of our work, and even at the lunch, as provided for when the Ottawa group decided upon it. I think I speak for all my colleagues that we rejoiced in this participation of the Polish minister. And it has been a very fruitful meeting and very positive.
I could say that our meeting enabled us to register a general agreement on the way in which one could settle the problem of the border between Germany and Poland as regards principles and ways and means and the calendar of that settlement.
On the invitation of the Soviet foreign minister, our next meeting, ministerial meeting, will be held on the 12th of September in Moscow. Therefore, this meeting today ends
GE 3 EUR308 with the satisfaction of all concerned. I am very happy especially that Poland participated in this today and in the general satisfaction we all feel. I am especially happy that this meeting could have taken place in Paris. Now I will give the floor to the Polish foreign minister.
SKUBISZEWSKI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to express the thankfulness and the joy of the Polish government because my country was represented during this conference and participated in the debate. Especially I am happy that this meeting would have taken place in Paris, in France, and of the results obtained. And I believe that as regards the problem of the border between Germany and Poland, on both sides, that the two German states and Poland are equally satisfied. Raising, that was my main purpose, the question of the confirmation of that border, and decisions have been taken and language has been decided which are entirely satisfactory.
As you know, Poland proposed some time ago that a treaty be concluded between a united Germany and Poland on the basis of a draft we submitted as to where the provisions regarding the border were, the main features and the treaty now will concentrate only on the topic of the border in order to facilitate things, and it is within the realm of legal texts and constitutions, international law and national law of Germany and Poland. But I also think that -- and there we concur with our German friends -- that one should as soon as possible conclude another treaty in order to settle all questions of good neighborhood between Poland and united Germany. That is something which will take place later.
The border, as I said, has been confirmed. And you know that starting with the Potsdam Agreement in 1945, one always stressed, on both sides, the Polish stand, that we needed a peace settlement in order to determine and delineate that border. After today's decision, it is not anymore necessary because we achieved final results.
In my contribution to the meeting, I referred to other problems also of concern to Poland, in particular the economic question. And I'm in a position to tell you that in this field also we felt that Germany was fully understanding and we had a very favorable proposal from Minister Genscher about a meeting between Germany and Poland this summer in order to discuss the very difficult economic problems rising for Poland as a result of the past situation. And I am prepared to reply to questions you would care to put to me.
DUMAS: Mr. Baker has the floor.
BAKER: Ladies and gentlemen, about six months ago in Ottawa we started this two-plus-four process. It was a new process designed to fit new times. I think it would be
GE 4 EUR308 fair to say that our aim was ambitious, but none too ambitious for this new age of European hope and freedom.
Our aim, of course, was to facilitate the peaceful and democratic unification of Germany, as well as the reconciliation of Europe, and today I think we draw much nearer to that target. We are keeping to the pace that's necessary to complete our work and to meet the target, to terminate the residual four-power rights and responsibilities and to accord Germany its full sovereignty at the time of unification in 1990.
Only six weeks ago at the Washington summit, President Bush presented President Gorbachev nine points designed to assure the Soviet Union of our firm intention to address the legitimate political, security and economic interests of the Soviet Union.
Only two weeks ago in London, the NATO nations issued a declaration that translated this intention into instructions, specific commitments to extend a hand to the East, to modify NATO's defensive doctrine and strategies, to expand our commitment to arms control, and to gradually construct new CSCE institutions for the whole of a Europe enjoying freedom and peace. Only yesterday, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Soviet Union in Stavropol agreed on eight points that will enable us to terminate four-power rights at the time of unification, restoring Germany's full sovereignty and full prerogatives under the Helsinki Final Act, and thereby creating a sound basis for European security and European stability.
Today, of course, we meet with our Polish colleague, Minister Skubiszewski, in recognition of the special interest that all of us have taken in assuring the definitive character of the Polish-German border. We all agree that a unified Germany will consist of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, and Berlin. No more, no less. We also agreed, after discussion with and adjustment by our Polish colleague, on a set of principles to guide the final settlement of the border issue. And, of course, we were pleased by the German statement committing to act on the border treaty in the shortest possible time after unification, in line with the commitments already given by the German parliaments. Next, our officials will begin to use the list of external issues they assembled to prepare a draft final settlement document.
In conclusion, the United States is very pleased that we are moving toward a sovereign and united Germany, and we are moving toward a stable security environment for Europe. We are replacing the historical national interests that divided us with a common European and Atlantic interest
GE 5 EUR308 that unites us. The outcome that has so long eluded us is now within our reach.
By the anniversary of our Ottawa meeting, I expect the United States and the other four powers will welcome the advent of a united, sovereign and democratic Germany, a valuable contributor to the promotion and preservation of a Europe which is whole and a Europe which is free.
DUMAS: Thank you. And I shall now give the floor to Mr. Genscher, foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Germany.
GENSCHER: Ladies and gentlemen, I should like to begin by thanking our host, Mr. Dumas, for the excellent way in which he chaired our meeting today. And I should like to express, too, my particular pleasure at the presence of our Polish colleague, Foreign Minister Skubiszewski, who for many years has worked to strengthen understanding between Poland and Germany. Today, during the sessions in which he participated, we considered the principles which will underline the resolution of the border issue. Of course, we are well aware of the darkest periods of the historical relationship between Germany and Poland.
Today, we have had agreement on these basic principles, not just among those participating in the two-plus-four negotiations, but also with our Polish colleague. And I should like to take this opportunity to express the intention of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany determination to ensure that within the shortest possible time after unification and the return of sovereignty, there will be a border treaty with Poland, which will then be submitted to the Parliament of the united Germany for ratification.
In our discussions today, we also took up the issue of the results of our discussions with the Soviet leadership in recent days in the Soviet Union. These discussions and the results of those discussions have been welcomed by all participants today, and we consider that they represent a success for Europe as a whole, for the new Europe, and that these results have confirmed our expectations that it should be possible to conclude the two-plus-four discussions before the CSCE summit meeting which will take place in Paris in November. We should be able to complete that before the CSCE summit meeting. In this way we should be able to sign the final document this year so that German unification, and return of full sovereignty to Germany, should be possible within this year.
Given this development, which has been accompanied by the successful preparatory work for the CSCE summit meeting and the results of the NATO conference in London, which represented a new relationship between the member countries of the different alliances, of the two alliances, that this
GE 6 EUR308 dynamic process of German unification is clearly exhibiting a positive influence on Europe as a whole. German unification as a contribution to ensuring the unity, the stability of Europe, and to maintaining peace in Europe.
We Germans, of course, are fully aware of the responsibility which this development places upon us, and we welcome the fact that following today's discussions, it is now clear that German unification will be complete by the end of this year. And I should like to thank all of my colleagues who participated in this negotiation, I should like to thank them for their very constructive approach. Thank you.
DUMAS: Thank you, Mr. Genscher, and I shall now give the floor to the foreign affairs minister of the Soviet Union.
SHEVARDNADZE: Ladies and gentlemen, I share the general assessments of the meeting that has just taken place, the ministerial meeting that has just taken place, the assessments as outlined by Mr. Dumas and by my other colleagues that preceded me. By the time of the Paris meeting, very important events have taken place that give us reason for confidence that an agreement about the final settlement of the external aspects of German unity will be reached and will be linked up with the process of German unification.
I would like to note the important work that has been done during the first two rounds of the meeting of the six, and also during the ministerial contacts at a bilateral level. It was during those contacts that we reached an understanding about the conditions and the kind of political evolution that would make possible the resolution of issues related to the German settlement.
In particular, let me emphasize the fact that over the past few months there have been contacts among the top leaders of the countries that participated in the two-plus-four mechanism. The meeting between the president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Federal Chancellor Mr. Kohl completed this series of intensive negotiations at the summit level.
So, now, we have before the six the mutual understandings that evolved, that emerged both during the broad political dialogue of the four powers and the two German states, and those that have been made possible as a result of the far- reaching changes taking place within the Warsaw Treaty, NATO, and within the overall European context.
The central problem that we faced at our talks in Ottawa was the determination of the responsibilities and rights of the four powers, and the granting of a full sovereignty to the future united Germany, and the problem of the political, military status of Germany.
GE 7 EUR308
For us, from the very outset there was no question -- we did not question the fact that the process of the establishment of German unity is taking place on a democratic basis, that we can trust the German people in both parts of Germany, who over the post-war period have proven their commitment to peace and shown their determination to create a kind of society and state that would not threaten anyone and that would be a sound partner for all countries in the West and in the East.
But we, just like others, had to recognize that until very recently, there were certain realities that stood in the way of resolving the issues related to Germany.
So, from the very outset, during the work of our mechanism of the six, we established a link between German unification and three other processes, that of reducing military confrontation in Europe and sharing a transition of European countries to defensive doctrines that implement the principle of defense efficiency; that of creating European structures of security and political cooperation; and that of transforming military blocs into political alliances and establishing relationships of partnership between the states that participate in the two alliances.
After the meeting of the political consultative committee of the Warsaw treaty in Moscow and the meetings of our partners in Dublin and London, we have seen a dramatic change, a dramatic headway in all these three areas. We can say without exaggeration that we have in Europe now a qualitatively new political-military situation evolving in Europe today. And that makes it possible to consider the possibility of synchronizing the external and the internal aspects of German unity and of terminating the responsibilities of the Four Powers at the time of unification of the two German states and the granting of the future Germany of full sovereignty. And that means that, as a sovereign state, Germany will decide itself which alliance it is going to belong to. A choice in favor of NATO created difficulties for us, serious problems for us, in a situation when NATO was holding on to its positions of the past. But the forthcoming transformation of this alliance is making it possible for us to take a new look at the role and place of the changing NATO in Europe.
I think that the interests of all European countries are well served by the political statements of the leaders of the FRG and the GDR, that the future Germany will have no weapons of mass destruction, that the size of the Bundeswehr will be limited, will be substantially limited, and also that the military structures of NATO will not extend to the territory of the GDR. Together with the agreement about the stationing of Soviet troops on the territory of Germany during a few years, these constraints will serve as material guarantees of stability in Europe.
GE 8 EUR308 We also have a firm understanding that the Soviet Union and a united Germany will conclude a treaty according to which the two sides will not consider themselves as adversaries, will not use force against each other, and will closely cooperate in the political, economic and other areas. We expect that shortly new European structures of security will emerge, and first of all, a center to prevent and resolve crises. I would like to recall that during the first meeting of the six in Bonn, the Soviet side said that a change in the political-military situation in Europe will make it possible for the USSR to take a different look, to take a new look at the issues of German unity that looked difficult at the time. Currently, we have reason to do so and we can say that we have really taken a constructive and a goodwill approach to the resolution of these issues.
At the current meeting of the ministers, we have decided, as my colleagues have announced here, to arrange our work in practical terms so as to make sure that by the time of the Moscow meeting on the 12th of September we have a draft agreement between the six that the ministers could adopt as a basis and then complete work on it and submit it to the European summit meeting here in Paris.
Today will also go down in history, I'm sure, as a day when the question of the German-Polish border has been definitively settled, settled to the complete satisfaction of our Polish friends. We value the contribution of Minister Skubiszewski to the resolution of this issue, and I would like sincerely to congratulate him and Mr. Genscher, and Mr. Meckel, and the delegation of those three countries on this important occasion.
And finally, I would like to thank my friend, Mr. Roland Dumas, for his effective chairmanship and also for providing a beautiful and elegant setting to our meetings here in Paris.
DUMAS: Thank you. I should like to thank you, my dear friend, and I shall now give the floor to the foreign affairs minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Douglas Hurd.
HURD: Well, Mr. Chairman, you have been a very skillful chairman for us and it will turn out that today we have cracked two nuts: the question of the Polish borders and the shape of the final settlement. But as someone said quite recently -- I can't quite remember who -- we do have strong teeth. But this couldn't be taken for granted, even a few weeks ago, because several times in this series of talks, doubts have been expressed about the strength of purpose and the prospects for success in completing our task before the end of the year. Those doubts are now retreating. Mr. Shevardnadze talked this morning to us about patient, serene negotiation. Well, that's been practiced here today, it's been practiced at many meetings
GE 9 EUR308 in the last few months, and because of that, it's coming out right.
When we have met before in the two-plus-four machinery, Mr. Shevardnadze has emphasized that a united Germany would not fit easily into the landscape of a new Europe if everything else remained the same. And he drew particular attention in advance to the importance of the NATO summit in London. And we took serious note of what he then said, and as you have heard today, the London declaration has not disappointed him. And as a result of the particular hard work of the governments of the Soviet Union and the Federal Republic of Germany, we are now within sight of reconciling the freedom of a united Germany to choose its own alliance, its own place in Europe, reconciling with the legitimate concerns of the Soviet Union.
Over lunch and this afternoon, we reached agreement on the border question -- Polish-German border question. Now, we British have very strong sympathies for historical reasons, for reasons of today also, with the Poles, and I have held several long and fruitful conservations on this problem with Mr. Skubiszewski. It's a great relief, a great satisfaction to us, that agreement has been reached on this. Here are two countries with a very checkered history together, two countries which are now going to be divided, but divided by an agreed international frontier, but united in their commitment to a Europe which is democratic, free, and which sorts out its differences peacefully. That is how it ought to be.
DUMAS: Thank you very much. I call on the foreign minister of the German Democratic Republic, Mr. Meckel.
MECKEL: I should like to begin, once again by thanking the foreign affairs minister of France for the way in which he chaired the meeting today. And I think that during our discussion, and indeed over the last days and weeks since June 22nd, our meeting in Berlin, we have achieved quite a lot of progress, and I think we have taken a major step forward. We have come much closer to resolving the issues which have brought us together. I would mention in particular the summit meeting in London recently, the meeting in Moscow in recent days. In this respect, in the area of security, much progress has been made, and I think this has taken account of the way in which the situation in Europe has developed. That's a point I wanted to bring up.
The new relationship between the member countries of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and the progress which has been made towards an institutionalization of the CSCE process, and just how important this is in security terms is something that was said very clearly: that the concept of security must not be seen in purely military terms, that security is a broader concept. It's not a question of arming against adversaries, but rather working together to attain security and it also has political and economic dimensions.
We consider that what has been said with regard to conventional armed forces, is a very positive starting point. We are very glad indeed that the Federal Republic has taken up our suggestion, namely, that both German states take the initiative to set a ceiling on German forces, go along with this proposal to Vienna, and in the area of conventional forces we are going to propose a Central European solution.
In recent days, the Soviet Union has agreed to German unification and a return of full sovereignty to Germany. The fact that these events have taken place at the same time, we consider a very major step forward. We think, too, that the international treaties which concern these allied rights and responsibilities, we need to study such treaties to see whether they contain restrictions, limitations on sovereignty which correspond to the rights and responsibilities of the allies.
We are particularly pleased that the Soviet Union has stated that it is willing to withdraw Soviet troops from the territory of the German Democratic Republic in the few years, and we think that this is a very positive development. This is the starting point of the treaty proposed between Germany and the Soviet Union, which concerns not just security issues, but all issues concerning our relations, and we consider that this should be based on the renunciation of force on both sides. This is linked to the withdrawal of Soviet nuclear weapons from German territory and the agreement that on the present territory of the GDR, no nuclear weapons should be based there in the future. We think this is a very important undertaking. It is a first important step forward on the road to a situation whereby, on German territory as a whole, no nuclear weapons should be stationed. And we consider that there is quite simply in the new Europe, there will be no need such nuclear weapons on German territory. We consider that security can be maintained without nuclear weapons on German territory.
And I am very pleased that in today's meeting, Mr. Skubiszewski has taken part in the discussion about this issue of German-Polish border, we have made progress. This, in fact, is an issue which we can now consider as having been resolved. We consider that this is in keeping with the responsibility of Germans, who when they consider the past, the checkered history of our relations between our countries, this is something we must be very much aware of.
It's particularly significant that shortly after Federal Chancellor Kohl's visit to Moscow, that so shortly after this agreement, that we have been able today to attain agreement. Now, yesterday the agreement concerned German- Soviet relations, today German-Polish relations. This represents a very good prospect for the future. We never again want to see a situation whereby the relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union could represent a danger to Poland.
We are particularly satisfied that Poland has obtained assurances regarding its security today, security, that is, of its border. This is something which has been based on the principle firstly of signing a border treaty with Germany as soon as possible subsequent to the unification of Germany, and then there will be, subsequent to that, negotiations on a general treaty covering relations between both states. We consider that this is a major step forward. We consider that German unification is closely linked to this key question of the definitive nature of the border between Germany and Poland. Today, we have clearly stated that we are prepared, and that before unification, to engage in trilateral discussions with Poland, and covering those issues which are of mutual interest.
DUMAS: Thank you very much. Now, you can put your questions to all the ministers. Will you kindly start by telling to whom you're addressing your question, and to tell us what paper you represent.
You have the floor.
QUESTION: I have a question to Minister Skubiszewski. Would you say that what happened today actually foretells the possibility for Poland to become part of united Europe?
SKUBISZEWSKI: An important step in the direction you have indicated. There is no question of a united Europe without a united Germany and vice versa. The final regulation of the, or the confirmation of the frontier issue is an important contribution to the stability on the European continent.
As to Poland's return to Europe, I think this can be taken only in the relative terms because Poland was always present in Europe even in the worst times of its postwar history, we have always been part of cultural Europe and part of European civilization. At the present time, we are taking steps to become a member of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and we also are making preparations for negotiations on the conclusion of an agreement of association with the European Community, to mention just two important steps which are elements of the Polish European policies.
Q: You make reference to economic talks this summer with West Germany. Please give us some details. And everybody's made reference to the border being finally settled, and terms of that settlement. But I haven't heard any of the terms except that the border is where the border is. Can you give us some idea of what the other terms are?
SKUBISZEWSKI: As to the economic talks, I can't give you any details regarding our future talks with Federal Germany and possibly also with the German Democratic Republic because this is only the beginning of our thinking about it. In any case, we are involved in talks with the German Democratic Republic on the fate of our various treaties and arrangements of an economic nature which will change -- at least, some of them will change -- as a result of German unification. And this is an important problem for Poland because the German Democratic Republic has been an important economic partner for Poland.
As to your second question, I cannot speak in detail about the provisions of the instrument that had been discussed today because this is a confidential matter, but I can tell you one thing. Poland was always puzzled by constant references to peace settlement or peace treaty as the final moment of the recognition or confirmation of the frontier. That condition, or requirement, of peace treaty or peace settlement has now disappeared. That's as a result of this conference -- a stabilizing result.
Q: A question for Mr. Genscher. Herr Genscher, there seem to be many questions here and other places from the Soviets, from Poland about Germany's future, good behavior. What reassurances have you been able to give your dialogue partners here?
GENSCHER: I would say that Germany's behavior was not a matter we discussed today. The matter we discussed is that which was pointed out by our German... and I would like to just emphasize here to underline what the foreign minister of the Soviet Union said when he spoke about the confidence, the trust which his country has in both German states and the peoples of both German states, and this is a trust which is shared by all participants in this conference.
Q: I have two questions, if I may, to Mr. Genscher. In connection with what Mr. Meckel just said, I would like to know what you think about the positioning of nuclear arms throughout the territory of the GDR. I would like to hear from you how you foresee the future.
My next question is to Mr. Dumas. Are there any elements which perhaps did not go into the general outline of the settlement which are of concern to you in connection with the unification of Germany, be they of economic, political or military nature?
GENSCHER: During our discussions yesterday with the Soviet leadership, we did attain agreement, and this agreement is one which is shared by the participants of today's conference, according to which it is up to the united Germany to decide as to which, and if it wants to belong to an alliance. And in our discussions with the Soviet leadership, and as our Federal Chancellor said in the press conference in the Soviet Union, he clearly stated that Germany wants to remain a member of the Western alliance for the -- into the future. Over a period of three to four years, Soviet troops will continue to be based on the territory of the GDR. This will be based on a treaty which a united and sovereign Germany will sign with the Soviet Union, and at the same time, in the territory of the present GDR forces of the united Germany will be based which will not be under NATO command, which will be responsible for territorial defense.
Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, German forces -- and that includes German forces under NATO command -- will be based in the territory of the GDR. These forces will not, however, have nuclear arms at their disposal. This is a clear description of the situation as it will apply to Germany, in agreement, too, with the Soviet Union, that the Articles 5 and 6 of the NATO treaty will apply as soon as unification takes place. That these provisions, provisions of Articles 5 and 6 of the NATO treaty, will apply also to the territory of the GDR.
DUMAS: To answer your last question, as you know, the Ottawa group was set up to deal with the external aspects of German unification. It being understood that internal issues are dealt with preference of the two countries. Among them, there was the question of frontiers between Poland and Germany and to identify the problems which occurred. The working group submitted to us five essential points which we considered also today. The minister of foreign affairs of Poland raised a number of additional problems which will not enter into the final document of the two-plus-four conference but to which he was able to receive replies in the course of the meeting. These replies some of them, find their way into the final settlement. In other cases, they will be in the shape of declarations that we work into this conference, so you need not worry because there will not be any questions which were not dealt with.
Q: For Ministers Genscher, Meckel and Skubiszewski, and the question is, did you refer today to the question of German constitution in the context of the borders? Thank you.
GENSCHER: The Federal Republic of Germany at an early stage in the framework of the two-plus-four negotiations clearly expressed that those provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic which concern German unification will be either deleted or modified because the unification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and Berlin. Once this unification has taken place, German unification will have been completed, and in this way the goal of the constitution -- the objective of the constitution will have been attained.
SKUBISZEWSKI: It is true that we talked today about the constitutional problems. A constitution is the highest law of the land, and when you provide that the constitution will take account of certain international changes such as the unification of Germany and the confirmation of the border, you thereby imply that you'll have various legal changes which to some extent are subject to international regulations. Other belong to the sovereign decision of the respective countries. I think that part of our debate was very useful.
MECKEL: The constitution, of course, is the supreme law of any state. It's a matter for the sovereignty of that country. As has been said, following German unification, it will be necessary to modify the constitution in certain respects. The preamble, in this respect has been mentioned. This specifies that Article 23, this is something which will not in the future be present in the German constitution. Today, we did not actually discuss this matter but there was agreement that the constitutional issues of this kind should not be part of a treaty with another state. There was discussion as to what extent other legal provisions should be mentioned.
We agreed that it is purely self-evident that domestic law must be in line with international law and international obligations, and it is not necessary to specify this in a treaty. And I say this because, and I underline this because I myself have lived in a state for many years which signed many international treaties. However, the domestic law of the GDR quite simply was not adapted to that -- was not in line with our international undertakings, and we are particularly sensitive and particularly aware of this issue and to ensure that this is not the case in future in Germany.
Q: This is both for Mr. Shevardnadze and Mr. Genscher. Mr. Meckel referred just now to his hopes for the denuclearization of Germany. To Mr. Shevardnadze, is it still the Soviet Union's goal that the whole of Germany should be denuclearized? And Mr. Genscher, what is your view on this issue?
SHEVARDNADZE: That would be an ideal solution. Yesterday, in Stavropol and also in Moscow we discussed the question of the military-political status of the territory of what is now GDR. And an understanding has been reached that, on that territory, during the presence of the Soviet troops and also after Soviet troops withdraw, there will be no stationing of nuclear weapons. As for the other aspects of that problem, we have a good degree of mutual understanding that after the completion of the Vienna talks -- of the first phase of the Vienna talks, we will begin a dialogue about reducing and maybe eventually eliminating tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.
GENSCHER: Mr. Shevardnadze, I think, has clearly stated that, in the territory of the present-day GDR, following the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, that, up to that withdrawal, German troops will be stationed, and indeed following that but they will not dispose of nuclear weapons. The remaining issues will be discussed within the alliance and will be discussed at an international level.
Q: Secretary Baker, does the fact that the arrangements between the Soviet Union and the Germans were concluded by them and not by this conference directly, the fact that the United States is no longer in a position to wield the kind of economic clout it once did and the fact that you haven't been asked a question up to this point at this news conference combine to indicate that American influence in Europe is not what it once was, nor will it be.
BAKER: I'm glad you're asking your question. You know, I was really beginning to wonder -- respond to you by saying that we are extremely happy to see the announcement that came out of the Soviet Union yesterday, because we have worked very long and very hard for exactly this result.
The terms of agreement that were reached between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev are terms that the United States has supported since as early at least as last December when we called for a unified Germany as a member of the NATO alliance. So, the terms please us very much. And we would draw your attention, if we could, to the nine points that I mentioned in my opening statement and which we have discussed with all of our colleagues here from time to time, particularly with Minister Shevardnadze and President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. So we're very pleased to see this result. It is a result that we've supported for a long time, and a result that we have worked very hard to achieve.
GENSCHER: My answer to this, to add to what Mr. Baker has just said, is that Germany has welcomed from the very outset that the United States has supported Germany's march towards unification, and our view of Germany's continued membership of NATO, which will be the result of the free decision on our part, but also the principle of not extending the structure of NATO to the territories of the GDR. This is the result of the joint appraisal of this matter, and we have greatly appreciated the United States' support in this respect. And I still remember what President Gorbachev said yesterday in the final conference with the Federal Chancellor, in which he referred to the importance of the results attained in the London NATO summit, which represented the starting point of a fundamental change in Europe which enabled the Soviet Union to reach agreement with the Federal Republic yesterday. And in this respect, I should just like to emphasize how important a role the president of the United States and the foreign minister -- secretary of State of the United States have played in attaining the result at the London NATO summit.
Q: This is to Herr Genscher. In terms of economic aid, what kind of price do you expect to have to pay for the Soviet Union's agreement to German unification? And could you oblige by answering in English please for British television.
GENSCHER: Yes, but unfortunately, I would prefer to speak in German. I do not think that it is in keeping with the status of our relations with the Soviet Union and the peoples of the Soviet Union, that it is not in keeping to talk about a price paid to buy Soviet agreement. I do not think that's appropriate -- a view of that kind is not appropriate. One cannot buy approval; one cannot buy agreement. That is not something we want to do and something that we could not do.
The Federal Republic of Germany and the Soviet Union, however, do agree that a united Germany will be able to contribute to strengthening relations between our two countries and to do so much more effectively than a continuation of the division of Germany. And for this reason, we have agreed that in a treaty which should be signed within 12 months, these prospects for future relations between Germany and the Soviet Union, we will develop these and we will sign an agreement to this effect. We are convinced that our contribution to insuring the success of the economic reform policy in the Soviet Union, this is, we are convinced, not just beneficial to the Soviet Union, but indeed to the development of Europe as a whole. We have a new approach to this matter, and we are convinced that this is something which is clearly going to be to the benefit of all countries of Europe and we believe that all countries are aware of this. Now, when I talk about "we", I'm not just referring to the Soviet Union and the Federal Republic of Germany, I am also referring to all the states present at this table and, indeed, I believe all those states participating in the CSCE process.
SHEVARDNADZE: Please bear with me. I would like to react -- to respond to your question, too. In such terms as the establishment of a state sovereignty of a nation, national unity, and the self-determination of nations, there is no trade and we're not going to trade. And I fully agree with Mr. Genscher on this.
Q: A question for Minister Baker or Minister Skubiszewski. Mr. Baker, you referred to adjustments by the Polish minister on the principles of the border treaty. I wonder if either of you can please elaborate on what the adjustments were?
And secondly, for Minister Shevardnadze, you referred to "partners", "our partners in Dublin and London." Do you now regard the NATO countries as partners? And to bring up the question that came up in Bonn, are you preparing to somehow formalize that partnership, if not by an application to NATO, then what comes next?
BAKER: Our perhaps joint answer, Minister, by saying that we have adopted five general principles that guide us in addressing the question of borders as it relates to the external aspects of German unification. And the minister made several suggestions for changes in those principles. I think I'm probably at liberty to certainly mention one of those in which he requested that we have a statement to the effect that the confirmation of the definitive nature of Germany's borders represents an important contribution to the order of peace in Europe, or words generally to that effect. And we picked up on that suggestion and added that to our five principles. There were other suggestions that were made which were followed as well.
DUMAS: As chairman of this meeting I'd like to confirm that this amendment was adopted and will figure in the final. Minister Skubiszewski?
SKUBISZEWSKI: Mr. President, you spoke up about adaptations. In fact, there were no particular adaptations, but we enlarged on certain issues. We adopted certain clarifications in various ways, as the Secretary of State said, some of them were incorporated into the five principles, others were subject of statements by the interested states. All of this boils down to confirmation of the frontier.
SHEVARDNADZE: When we speak about partnership, I think there should be nothing surprising in that in fact the relations of partnership are something that we are already building with the United States, France, the FRG, Britain, and other countries. And as for the future, well, yes, I am fully confident that we will be real partners because what we are doing is building new relations between countries that belong to the different military-political alliances today.
Many things are changing in the world today. We are entering a period of peace in the development of world civilization. And in that context, we have to build new relations and there is nothing surprising about the fact that we, the adversaries of yesterday, countries that belong to confronting political-military alliances, will become real partners and will cooperate on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual trust.
Q: Could you please be a bit more specific about the changes that you wanted? Did you ask for a change in the preamble to the West German constitution, for example? Did you ask for Article 23 to be taken out of the constitution? Did you ask for a timetable to be put into the two-plus- four agreement to bind the German states to recognize the frontier as quickly as possible?
SKUBISZEWSKI: I didn't ask for the changes in the preamble of the constitution nor in Article 23, because I was told some time ago by our German partners that these changes would be brought about. So that was not a subject of discussion today. And so the change of the constitution is a matter to be decided by the country which is responsible for that constitution. We have received satisfactory assurances at -- not only we -- it was a matter which was first of all discussed in the two-plus-four talks. As to the timetable, there was indeed a problem of various consultations prior to this meeting, and it was also mentioned during this meeting. Our interest is in the speedy conclusion of the bilateral treaty, the treaty between Poland and united Germany, and we have received the assurance that that treaty would be concluded as soon as possible after the unification of Germany. That corresponds to the Polish position from the outset.
We always envisaged that the signing and ratification of the treaty will take place after unification. But we insisted on the usefulness of talks preparatory to the treaty now, prior to unification, because that might be helpful for what would happen after unification. That I would say is a pragmatic approach.
DUMAS: Thank you very much. I would like to thank my six colleagues. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for participating in this exchange.
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File Identification: 07/18/90, EU-308
PDQ Text Link: 147864

Last modified: Fri Apr 26 13:04:20 CEST 2002