Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, during a visit that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl described as "a milestone," said Friday the two countries have a new role to play in changing international relations.
Earlier in the day they signed a cooperation treaty that formalizes the new relationship between the Soviet Union and Germany that emerged during the past year of dramatic change."We have given up the Cold War as an instrument for the resolution of international problems and are now looking for a new instrument," Gorbachev told a news conference on the first day of a two-day visit to Germany.
Speaking after he and Kohl signed the treaty, Gorbachev said, "We see a new role to be played by our two states in the restructuring of international relations - but there are also great dangers every time you turn around human relations."
Kohl described Gorbachev's visit, which coincides with celebrations marking the first anniversary of the Nov. 9, 1989, opening of the Berlin Wall, as "a milestone in the relations between our two people."
During nearly 3 hours of talks the two leaders discussed the Soviet program of economic reform, bilateral relations and the Persian Gulf crisis.
Although Gorbachev is not expected to directly seek any German credits, economic relations and German assistance to the Soviet program of economic changes are the main focus of the visit.
Gorbachev thanked Kohl for urging Germans to consider Soviet troops stationed in eastern Germany as "a friendly force."
The 380,000 troops are to leave former East Germany within four years, and it was not immediately clear whether the two leaders discussed the possibility of speeding-up the process, as anticipated.
At a ceremony for the signing of the treaty earlier in the day, Gorbachev said, "The new vision of the world triumphs. The era of confrontation is over. The face of Europe and the world is changing.
"Our treaty is a strong and healthy child of these changes," Gorbachev said.
He said the establishment of a new relationship was "accelerated by the internal changes in East Germany which brought about the collapse of the wall of German division."
The two delegations also signed a treaty on economic and scientific cooperation and an agreement on bilateral social relations.
"Economic relations between the Soviet Union and Germany will improve," said Kohl, who announced that Bonn will send specialists to the Soviet Union to establish how the German government can support Gorbachev's ambitious economic reforms.
Gorbachev was accompanied by his wife, Raisa, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Prime Minister Stepan Sitarjan and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mikhail Moissejev.
On Saturday, Gorbachev and his wife will make a private visit to Kohl's home in the Rheinland-Palatinate state, where they will visit a 1,000 year-old cathedral.