- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

GERMANY

World bank president called unfit to stay on

BERLIN — Germany thinks Paul Wolfowitz’s position at the helm of the World Bank has become unsustainable, a German Cabinet minister was quoted as saying yesterday.

“The situation, as it is, is no longer acceptable,” Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to Mr. Wolfowitz’s handling of pay raises for his girlfriend.

“My conclusion is that Wolfowitz should do the bank a service and take the consequences himself. The sooner, the better.”

SAUDI ARABIA

Prodi favors dialogue over war against Iran

RIYADH — Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said yesterday military action against Iran would be unacceptable and called on Saudi Arabia to continue a diplomatic drive to ease tension between Tehran and the West.

Saudi Arabia shares U.S. concerns that Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons and accuses Tehran of backing anti-Western Shi’ite Muslim groups in Iraq and Lebanon.

“Efforts at dialogue must continue, since this is the only way we can reach fair, satisfactory and permanent solutions. The military solution will always be unacceptable,” Mr. Prodi said in a speech to the Saudi parliament.

RUSSIA

Payments plan reached for Iranian nuke plant

MOSCOW — The Russian contractor building Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station said yesterday the two sides had signed a protocol partly settling a dispute over payments for the project.

The Russians say they received no money for work at Bushehr from the end of January to the end of March. Iran resumed payments last month, but some are still outstanding.

“If this plan is implemented, a part of the issues linked to the financing of Iran’s first atomic station will be resolved,” a spokeswoman for the Russian company Atomstroiexport said after talks in Moscow.

BANGLADESH

Ex-prime minister barred from country

LONDON — Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed was barred from boarding a flight to Dhaka yesterday after Bangladesh’s authorities asked airlines to prevent her from returning home.

Mrs. Wazed faces charges in Bangladesh of extortion and murder linked to street battles between political opponents. The army-backed government says her return could trigger further violence.

A Dhaka court earlier issued an arrest warrant for the long-serving Awami League president. It called her an “absconder” and ordered police to confiscate her property if she did not surrender by May 28, officials said.

ARGENTINA

Kirchner hints wife will run for president

BUENOS AIRES — President Nestor Kirchner was quoted yesterday saying he supports his wife, Sen. Cristina Fernandez, as a presidential candidate in October elections.

Mr. Kirchner, whose approval rating is higher than 60 percent, has been vague for months about whether he or his wife will be the candidate.

“I’m very clear on this. I will defend her so she can be president,” Mr. Kirchner said in published remarks that suggested factions within his government would oppose the decision.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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