Süddeutsche Zeitung, Monday, November 13th, 1989, p. 1

Scan Political parties quarrel about the situation

Kohl rejects SPD call for a round table

Kohl to meet GDR secretary Krenz within four weeks / Chancellor has argument with Momper

This is an English summary. The full article is only available in German.

The West German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, and GDR state councillor Egon Krenz plan to meet each other within four weeks. The meeting is to take place in the GDR but not in East Berlin.

Kohl had returned to Bonn after his Berlin visit on Friday and worked heavily; he had telephone conversations with Krenz, Bush, Mitterand, Thatcher, Gonzalez and Gorbatchev. The West German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, gave calls to the EU and NATO partners and his sovjet colleague, Shewardnadse.

The Western social democratic party (SPD) criticized that Kohl is planning to meet Krenz and and Hans Modrow, who is expected to become the new GDR Prime Minister. The mayor of Berlin, Walter Momper, who is also a member of SPD, criticized the late meeting date. Between now and the meeting, 30 days would pass without anything practical happening. Futhermore, he (Momper) has been waiting for an opportunity to talk to Kohl since October 18th.

Party politics were responsible for arguments in other areas as well. Kohl attacked Momper because of his talk in Berlin without becoming too specific, but he possibly disliked Momper's using the term "the people of the GDR". Momper countered that Kohl obviously had something against the GDR's right to self-determination. The people in the GDR, said Momper, were not interested in unification.

Another argument erupted about the SPD idea of creating a "round table" to discuss the consequences of the situation. The government, trade unions, business associations, political parties, the Länder and communal organizations as well as charities and churches should join these "round tables". Kohl replied that there "wasn't the faintest reason" to install such a "round table", but he was still willing to talk to all parts of society.

The West German government concluded after a special meeting that it was important to improve the material conditions of living for the people in the GDR so that they don't feel compelled to leave their country. Freedom of travel was not enough - a market economy had to be introduced.

The Greens had some internal quarrels about some of their members singing the Western national anthem together with others in the Bundestag on Thursday evening. The speaker of the board, Ruth Hammerbacher, said that practical concepts were important, not national feelings.

  Frederik Ramm, 2001-04-27