Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he will wait until mid-2013 to make the decision on whether to seek a second four-year term in 2014 and he remarked that he wants to decouple this matter from his government's peace process with the FARC rebels.
"I've been prudent and cautious not to mix one with the other," the president said in an interview with Colmundo Radio in which for the first time he openly referred to a possible re-election bid for the 2014-2018 term.
"The decision will be made at mid-year, but I want to completely decouple that possibility from the peace process," the president said.
Santos is the third Colombian leader to attempt negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to put an end to the country's internal armed conflict, which has lasted for half a century.
In February 2012, government delegates began "exploratory conversations" with guerrilla spokesmen and after six months they managed to sign an agreement establishing the issues to include on the agenda to create a roadmap for the peace process.
The peace negotiations were launched in October in Oslo and a few weeks later a second round of talks began in Havana, which - as the permanent seat for the Colombian peace process - has so far hosted two sets of talks where the parties have defined logistical and citizens' participation issues.
Government and FARC representatives will once again sit down at the dialogue table on Jan. 14.
Santos has been emphatic about his desire that the peace process be completed in a matter of months, not years, and so last November he set a term within which he expects to reach a final agreement. EFE