(Reuters) - Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a tough-talking backer of the war in Iraq, said on Thursday he had decided not to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
"I believe I can make the strongest contribution to our future by continuing as a clear and consistent advocate for a strong Reaganite foreign policy that values peace through strength," Bolton said in a video posted to his Facebook page.
"While I am not a candidate, I am certainly not going to sit this election out," he said.
Bolton, who served in the administrations of former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, was considered a long shot if he had entered the crowded Republican field seeking the nomination.
He also said he would continue advocating for foreign policy as a focus of the 2016 race. Bolton has criticized U.S. negotiations to contain Iran's nuclear program and advocated bombing its nuclear facilities.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson, editing by G Crosse)