A 'Tripartite Dialogue' is usually understood to mean a dialogue amongst three parties: the military government (SPDC), the democracy forces (NLD) and the ethnic nationalities. The notion of 'Tripartite Dialogue', therefore, highlights the indispensable participation of the ethnic nationalities in political transition and national reconciliation processes.
The term 'Tripartite Dialogue' was first used in the 1994 United Nations General Assembly resolution because most external actors thought the problem of Burma can be resolved by solving two issues- the issues of democracy versus military rule. 'Tripartite' was used to indicate that a third party or issues must also be resolved.
underlying intent was to emphasize the fact that the Burmese problem is a
constitutional problem - not just a minority or even an ethnic problem which
can 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.
This is the meaning behind the call for a 'Tripartite Dialogue'. It requires 3
issues to be resolved at the same time by 3 parties or groups. It is not enough
to resolve the question of democracy versus military rule without also
ethnic nationalities consider the constitutional problem to be the major
problem. The problem in
ultimate 'Tripartite Dialogue' will involve an inclusive nation-wide convention
to draft a new constitution. The drafting of the new constitution will resolve
all three issues - the role of the military in Burmese politics, democracy, and
the constitutional arrangement between the constituent states of
However, it is important for future of the nation that the process leading to the constitution drafting process be inclusive - whether it is 'confidence building', negotiating compromises, or forming a transitional authority. In other words, the concept of a 'Tripartite Dialogue' or 3 parties discussing 3 issues need to be incorporated into the dialogue process as early as possible.