East European Update
German unification Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is calling for an international treaty on German unification, saying his country ``has an inalienable right'' to ensure it does not sustain political or economic damage from a united Germany.
In an interview published Feb. 21 in the Communist Party daily Pravda, the Soviet president said that he believes it is up to the Germans to decide the nature and timing of unification. But he said a united Germany must respect Europe's current borders and that only the four victorious Allies of World War II can determine Germany's final status.
Gorbachev specifically mentioned Poland's western border. Kohl's failure to make a public pledge to respect that border has prompted Poland to request the role in talks on unification between the two Germanys and the Allies.
East and West Germany began discussing monetary union Feb. 20 while East Berlin called for extra bilateral talks to prepare for an international conference on the security implications of German unity.
Addressing parliament, East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow demanded that the two German states, which are in opposing military alliances, agree on radical arms cuts.
He also urged their governments to declare post-World War II borders inviolable, especially those of Poland, before a planned European summit on German unity.
``Politicians, indeed all people from East and West, expect the unity of Germany to be achieved reasonably and with the highest sense of responsibility,'' he said.
The East German parliament later overwhelmingly approved a new electoral law and procedure for March 18 elections, the first fully free poll in Eastern Europe for decades.
The turmoil in Yugoslavia's riot-torn Kosovo province deepened Feb. 20 with the country's leaders ordering the Army to crush violence in the region.
The collective state presidency announced the move as violent clashes continued between members of the province's ethnic Albanian majority and their Serbian rivals.
Troops have been deployed in Kosovo since last March as a show of strength by the central government in the face of mounting unrest by ethnic Albanians seeking greater regional autonomy. But this is the first time they have been ordered to put down riots.