THE Germans and the World War II allies who defeated them in 1945 signed a historic treaty Sept. 12 to restore sovereignty to a united Germany and define its new international status. Foreign ministers from both Germanys and the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, and France signed the document in a Moscow hotel. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev also attended the ceremony.
The two German ministers - Bonn Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maizi`ere - were the first to sign the six-page document. The group took only five minutes to sign the treaty.
The accord - the so-called two-plus-four agreement to deal with the external aspects of German reunification - clears the way for the two Germanys to reunite on Oct. 3.
Entitled ``The Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany,'' it includes a German renunciation of war and a pledge to recognize Poland's 1945 western border.
The treaty will end the Allies' remaining occupation rights when it is ratified by all participants next year.
According to French officials, the Soviet Union dropped its opposition to a formal suspension of Allied rights on Oct. 3 during last-minute negotiations leading up to the session.
Moscow originally said that it could not suspend its rights, which would have left the Germans still under theoretical Allied tutelage between Unity Day on Oct. 3 and ratification of the treaty next year.
The agreement, hammered out in only seven months while pressure for unity mounted steadily, allows a united Germany to be a full NATO member with a 370,000-strong limit to its armed forces and a self-imposed ban on nuclear weapons.
The Germans also pledged that they would not hold maneuvers with over 13,000 NATO troops on former East German territory after 1994.
The two Germanys plan to reunite formally on Oct. 3, less than a year after a popular revolution swept the communists from power in East Germany and brought in a conservative-led government that pledged to seek merger as soon as possible.