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Joint Communiqué by Erich Honecker and Helmut Kohl (September 8, 1987)

Honecker’s planned visit to the Federal Republic – a response to Helmut Schmidt’s trip to East Germany in 1981 – was delayed by Soviet objections and only became a reality in 1987. The visit represented an additional symbolic step in the de facto recognition of East Germany, but its concrete political results, buried in the usual official statements, were confined to cooperative agreements in science, technology, ecology, and radiation protection.

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General Secretary Honecker and Chancellor Kohl agreed that the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, in light of the responsibility arising from their common history, must make a special effort on behalf of a peaceful coexistence in Europe. Never again shall war emanate from German soil; peace must emanate from it.

They emphasized that the relationship between the two states must remain a stabilizing factor for constructive East-West relations. This relationship must provide a positive impetus for peaceful cooperation and dialogue in Europe and beyond.

General Secretary Honecker and Chancellor Kohl paid tribute to the development of the relationship between the two states since the conclusion of the Basic Treaty between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of December 21, 1972. They emphasized that this treaty, together with previously concluded agreements and regulations, forms the basis and the framework for relations between the two states. They affirmed their Joint Declaration of March 12, 1985.

In consideration of the current circumstances, and irrespective of differences of opinion on fundamental questions, including the national question, it is the intention of both states, in the spirit of the Basic Treaty, to develop normal neighborly relations with each other on the basis of equality, and to continue exhausting the possibilities of the treaty.

It was agreed that what has already been achieved should be preserved and extended, being mindful of the principle that both states respect the independence and autonomy of the other in domestic and foreign matters. A willingness to communicate and realism should be the guiding principles for a constructive, practical-minded cooperation between the two states.

Both sides paid tribute to the ongoing positive effect of the Quadripartite Agreement of September 3, 1971 on the situation in Europe's center and on East-West relations, and affirmed the necessity of adhering to the Agreement and applying it as fully as possible.

General Secretary Honecker and Chancellor Kohl dealt thoroughly with questions regarding holiday travel and visitor traffic, including travel in the event of pressing family matters. They acknowledged the progress made thus far, and affirmed their intention to continue working toward improvements and simplifications in the interests of the people. [ . . . ] They welcomed the establishment of partnerships between cities in the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany as important contributions to the facilitation of meetings between citizens – including cultural events – and thereby toward the extension of friendly neighborly relations between the two states. In the future, they will continue to support such efforts. [ . . . ]

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