Bush wants American to succeed Wolfowitz

22-05-2007

Bush wants American to succeed Wolfowitz
George Bush has confirmed that he wants an American citizen to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank.

Mr Wolfowitz announced last week that he will step on June 30th after it emerged he arranged the transfer and pay rise of his partner in 2005 when he first arrived at the Washington-based bank.

The former US deputy secretary of defence's departure will come just three days after Tony Blair leaves Downing Street, and there have been suggestions that the prime minister – a key ally of Mr Bush – could be nominated as the new president of the World Bank.

But in an interview with the Reuters news agency, the US president distanced himself from such speculation.

"We'd very much like it to be an American," he said, adding that treasury secretary Henry Paulson was in charge of creating a shortlist of potential replacements.

"I haven't talked to Tony Blair about it, but I do think it'd be good to have an American run the bank," Mr Bush went on to say.

By convention the US has named the president of the World Bank throughout its 62-year history, while European governments have selected the head of the International Monetary Fund.

But the circumstances of Mr Wolfowitz's departure have prompted calls on the continent for a European to be given the World Bank's top job.

Former US trade representative Robert Zoellick and US deputy treasury secretary Robert Kimmitt are believed to be two names on Mr Paulson's shortlist.


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