BONN, AUG. 27 -- Prominent representatives of West Germany's opposition party and East Germany's Socialist Unity Party today issued a joint declaration of goals calling for an end to the arms race and for "peaceful competition" between the democratic and communist systems.
The document was issued just 11 days before what will be an unprecedented visit to West Germany by East German chief of state Erich Honecker. An official from the Social Democratic Party, the Bonn government's opposition, said the timing was "favorable" but a coincidence, and that the two sides began work on the paper two years ago.
The Social Democrats' Basic Values Commission, which is associated with the party's left wing, helped prepare the document as part of a longstanding effort by the West German party to increase cooperation with East German communists. However, it is not considered an official party document.
The East German Academy of Social Sciences, which is associated with the ruling party's Central Committee, represented the East German party in preparing the paper.
The 18-page document issued today, entitled "Conflicting Ideologies and Common Security," was presented by representatives of both parties at news conferences in Bonn and East Berlin. The document emphasized that the democratic and communist systems must give up the idea of triumphing over each other through violence, and instead concentrate on overcoming their differences through reforms on either side.
"At present, the most important task is to halt the dynamics of arms build-up and to set in motion a dynamic process of disarmament," it said. "Both sides have to be prepared for a lengthy period of time during which they will have to coexist and get along with each other."
The Social Democrats, who lead the opposition to Chancellor Helmut Kohl's center-right coalition, have sought to use their cooperation with the East Germans to portray themselves as the party that is best suited to improve relations with East Germany and the rest of the Soviet Bloc.