West Germany said today that it wants to bring unity with the East forward to the start of October, a compromise date that may end weeks of bickering in Bonn and East Berlin on when to merge.
"The government finds any date soon after Oct. 2 appropriate," Bonn spokesman Hans Klein said in a statement.
Ruling Christian Democrats in the East and West had wanted unification on Oct. 14, but the opposition Social Democrats, the second-largest party in both states, said it should come by Sept. 15 at the latest.
Klein said the two Germanys should not merge until a final agreement from talks on the security status of the united Germany is presented to foreign ministers from the 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, who meet in New York on Oct. 1-2.
Security talks between the two Germanys and the four victorious World War II Allies--the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France--to clear external barriers to a united Germany are due to end in Moscow on Sept. 12.
East German parliamentary sources said that the Christian Democrats were backing accession to the West between Oct. 2 and 6 but that the Social Democrats still want it to occur by Sept. 15.
Klein said that Bonn was not considering backing a Sept. 15 date and denied that Chancellor Helmut Kohl had said East Germany should not live to see its 41st anniversary on Oct. 7.
Under longstanding West German law envisaging the eventual merger of the two states, the date for unification must be decided by the East German Volkskammer, or Parliament, alone.
Political analysts say the Social Democrats want Kohl's government to take full control of the East's ailing economy now--in the hope that by all-German elections Dec. 2, disillusioned voters will turn away from the Christian Democrats.