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Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 22:17 UK

Colombian defence minister quits

Juan Manuel Santos
Mr Santos' statements on pursuing the Farc have angered Venezuela

Colombian Defence Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, has resigned from his post to prepare for a possible campaign for the country's presidency.

Mr Santos said he would run in 2010 if President Alvaro Uribe chose not to seek an unprecedented third term.

There needs to be a change to the Colombian constitution if Mr Uribe is to stand again.

While at the defence ministry Mr Santos has had some success against the country's left-wing Farc rebels.

The Colombian senate is expected to vote later this week on a possible referendum on whether Mr Uribe should be allowed to seek a third term.

Last year, Colombian forces killed one of the Farc's senior commanders in a controversial incursion into neighbouring Ecuador.

And earlier this year Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for Mr Santos to resign.

The call came after the Colombian minister had said he would not hesitate to send troops into Venezuela in pursuit of Farc rebels.



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