Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is acknowledging that his government may miss a fast-approaching deadline to sign a peace deal with rebels and end the main part of the country's decades-long conflict.

Santos said at a public event Wednesday he would not sign a bad agreement just to wrap things up by a certain date. It was his first public statement acknowledging that the two sides may miss the March 23 deadline they agreed to last year.

Santos says if the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have not come up with an acceptable deal, they will simply set a new deadline.

The two sides have come to agreements on many key issues in recent months, but still have to hammer out a plan for disarming the guerrillas.