- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

From combined dispatches

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, fighting to keep his job, has been given two more days to respond to a finding that he violated ethics rules when he arranged a pay raise for his girlfriend, bank officials said.

Mr. Wolfowitz will have until tomorrow to answer accusations connected with the pay-and-promotion package for his companion, Shaha Riza, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Directors of the Washington-based agency will meet next week to discuss his response, the officials said.

The 24-member board, which answers to the bank’s member governments, has the authority to dismiss or reprimand the former U.S. deputy defense secretary.

Officials from France and Britain yesterday urged a swift resolution of the crisis, saying it has hobbled Mr. Wolfowitz’s ability to lead the world’s largest development agency.

“It has got to be brought to an end, and it has got to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion, which maintains the credibility and the reputation of the bank,” British International Development Secretary Hilary Benn told lawmakers in London yesterday.

Germany reiterated its call for Mr. Wolfowitz to resign.

Karin Kortmann, a state secretary for the German Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry, said Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told Mr. Wolfowitz during the World Bank’s spring meeting last month that she was worried about the credibility of the institution.

“She made it clear to [Wolfowitz] that his voluntary resignation was the best solution for the bank and its goals,” Ms. Kortmann told lawmakers in the German parliament yesterday.

President Bush is the only world leader to have publicly said that Mr. Wolfowitz, whom he nominated in 2005, should stay. “We still support him fully,” White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters yesterday.

A day earlier, Mr. Snow referred questions to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., who controls the U.S. vote at the bank.

Four Senate Democrats wrote to Mr. Bush yesterday expressing their concern about the leadership crisis at the World Bank.

“We are very concerned that the window of opportunity is closing fast for the United States to show leadership to resolve the crisis without undermining the bank or the U.S. leadership role,” wrote the senators.

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