Tripartite means three issues
Tripartite means three issues, says Shan leader
Contrary to usual understanding, Tripartite Dialogue, the expression that has become a byword of the opposition in general, means a dialogue on three issues more than anything else, said Khun Kya Nu, a Shan member of the National Reconciliation Program yesterday (8 December 2001).
The 66-year old Shan, who is also known as Sengsuk "Gem of War", told the 150 activists gathered to honor the 10th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize won by Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, at a "Liberated Area" that the resolution of the three issues i.e. Dictatorship, Democracy and States' rights through dialogue was the key to peace in Burma.
"What with the pressure from Japan, Australia, Asean and even our powerful neighbor, chances of the junta turning back from the path of dialogue is zero," he said.
According to a paper issued by the Canada-based National Reconciliation Program, the underlying intent of 'Tripartite Dialogue', a term first used in the 1994 United Nations General Assembly, is 'to emphasize the fact that the Burmese problem is a constitutional problem - not just minority or ethnic problem which can be resolved at a later date once democracy is established. The question of democracy, military rule and the constitutional arrangement with the non-Burman ethnic nationalities are intrinsically intertwined and cannot be resolved one without the other.'
The paper also argues "the problem in Burma is not just a 'minority' problem. A minority problem affecting 5% - 10% of the population can be resolved at a later date. In Burma, the non-Burmans make up at least 40% of the population and the ethnic states occupy 57% of the total land area.
"The problem in Burma is also not an 'ethnic' problem as in the former Yugoslavia. The ethnic nationalities are not fighting and killing each other, requiring a strong army to maintain law and order."
The ceremony was chaired by Hsengnoung Lintner, President of the Women's League of Burma, who said, "Ceasefire does not mean there is peace in Burma," alluding to the fact all the groups that enjoyed truce agreements with Rangoon were still arming themselves.
Two speakers, Aye Saung of the People's Liberation Front and Dr. Tint Sway of the Delhi-based "National Coalition Government" branch office, were at loggerheads with each other. While the latter, an NLD-Member of Parliament elected, exhorted the audience to put all their trust in the Nobel laureate the former warned against people's tendency to place all their hopes in 'minlaungs' (saviors). "We need to learn to rely on our own efforts also," said Aye Saung.
Meanwhile, Mi Su Pwint, a speaker from the WLB, said the danger to peace was also in the minds of the people. "Even perceptions of good or bad have changed," she told the gathering as she related her meeting with an elderly villager from the Shan-Karenni area a few years ago. "The new major is very kindly. When our village headman failed to meet the quota of labor he needed, he only punched him three times," she quoted him as saying. "It made me feel very sad about the future of our country."
Celebrations of the event held along the border areas in Chiangmai, Maehongson, Tak and Kanjanaburi provinces have called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house custody.