War not a solution to NE conflict: Mahinda
On the last lap of a gruelling and close presidential race, Prime Minister and UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapakse told The Sunday Times he did not see war as a solution to the crisis in the north and east and he believed the humanitarian problems of the people there should be resolved amicably.

Mr. Rajapakse said the charge that he did not have minority support or was against the minorities was baseless because several minority parties were firmly behind him.

Responding to questions and widespread charges that his policy on the ethnic conflict might plunge the country back to war, Mr. Rajapakse said such a fear was baseless and his goal was to reach a majority consensus for a negotiated solution.

“We should find a solution among ourselves. This may not be in the books. We should reach wide consensus. So far efforts to resolve the conflict have not helped. I am looking for a new approach to reach a fresh consensus,” he told The Sunday Times.

“ I have said that we can arrive at some decision in three months. That is the maximum I can give them. What I will do is to try and reach some consensus from the people in the south within three months. And after that we should try to reach a consensus with all the parties,” he said.

“Have confidence in me and vote for me. I am only requesting one thing from the voters. That is not to harm any of the opponents after the election. We need to co-operate and work with them after the election to build the nation,” Mr. Rajapakse said

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