* I`m a father and want all our children to be safe and happy
* I won`t dance to anyone`s tune
* I won`t meet Prabhakaran for breakfast or lunch
* UNPwill have a role to play in development of country
* Minority rights will be safeguarded
* The Sinhala community must be brought together
Prime Minister and SLFP Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday countered his critics who are accusing him of trying to push the country back into war through his pacts with the JVP and the JHU in an exclusive interview with The Island at Temple Trees.
He defended his position that the country needed direct talks between the President and the LTTE leader for any positive outcome to emerge from negotiations. `I am not going there to have either breakfast or lunch,` he said impliedly in reply to President Kumaratunga`s letter to him on Friday critical of his proposal.
Rajapakse said he was hopeful that the people of the North East and the minorities would support him because he was the only person who could bring the Sinhalese people together. For, he said, the people knew that there couldn`t be a solution without the majority community getting together, first of all.
He said if he won the elections, he would invite the UNP and other parties to join him to work together and develop the country.
He said he would not dance to anyone`s tune but would never isolate the JVP or the JHU or others because everyone was important to take the country forward as a united Sri Lanka.
He said that the Muslims of Sri Lanka had been wronged and he would work towards giving them their rightful place.