BERLIN, DEC. 20 -- The first democratic pan-German parliament in 57 years convened in Berlin's Reichstag building today and its oldest legislator, Willy Brandt, 77, called on the united nation to shoulder greater global responsibilities.
Elected representatives from all Germany last met in the same building in 1932, a month before Adolf Hitler's Nazis took office in a power vacuum.
In a keynote speech to the Bundestag, the lower house, ex-chancellor Brandt said modernizing the former East Germany will be a huge task but must not detract from growing German duties around the world.
"Germany would heap guilt on itself if out of its own concerns it forgot world concerns: hunger, migration of the poor, environmental destruction," said Brandt, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for pursuing East-West detente in the 1970s.
"We all know the tasks in our country are not minor," he said of Bonn's costly commitment to turn dingy eastern Germany into a mirror of affluent western Germany. "But we cannot fail to show solidarity with the wretched of this earth."
The 662 deputies elected Dec. 2 include 150 representing old East Germany, which dissolved into Bonn's Federal Republic Oct. 3. Today's session reelected Rita Suessmuth as parliament president.