East German Defense Minister Rainer Eppelmann said Saturday East Germany will leave the Warsaw Pact the day Germany is unified.
He told the West Berlin newspaper Morgenpost that the issue was not discussed at the Warsaw Pact leaders' meeting in Moscow Thursday but that it was tacitly agreed that unification would end East German membership in the Warsaw Pact, the Eastern counterpart to NATO.The one-day Warsaw Pact meeting in Moscow, the first since the ouster of the hard-line Communist regimes in East Germany and other countries, agreed to radical changes that ended Soviet domination of the alliance and committed it to cooperation with NATO.
Hungary's prime minister, Jozsef Antall, said Saturday that his country intends to fully withdraw from the Warsaw Pact even if the alliance plans to dissolve eventually. But he said Hungary wanted to negotiate its pullout with the six other member nations rather than making a move on its own.
A statement issued after the meeting made no mention of either East Germany's or Hungary's intentions.
But the Morgenpost quoted Epplelmann as saying, "Nevertheless, it was tacitly agreed that on the day of the political unification of Germany, the German Democratic Republic would give notice of termination of its membership."
Eppelmann said all military structures of the alliance, such as the joint high command, would be abolished this year.
His statement was published as senior diplomats of the two Germanys and the four World War II victors with special rights in Germany met in East Berlin to prepare for the second meeting of their six foreign ministers. The meeting, to discuss unification and its attendant problems, will be held in East Berlin June 22.
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, on his return to Bonn Saturday from talks in Washington, said that he and President Bush agreed "full membership in NATO of a unified Germany is an essential factor for stability and security in Europe."
Both agreed, he told the West German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, that the six-power talks can be ended successfully by the fall meeting of the 35-nation Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe."