Washington: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz rejected calls for him to quit less than halfway through his five-year term, saying he still has important work to do alleviating poverty in the developing world.
“I believe in the mission of this organization and I believe I can carry it out,” Wolfowitz, 63, told a press conference in Washington on 15 April 2007. This is important work and I intend to continue it.”
His comments came minutes after the group’s Development Committee released a statement describing the promotion of a colleague that Wolfowitz dated as a “great concern.” The panel, which represents the bank’s 185 member nations, said the organization must adhere to high standards.
World Bank directors are weighing Wolfowitz’s future as head of the largest development agency after finding that he personally dictated the terms of his partner’s salary increase and promotion. The raise was twice as large as allowed by bank rules, according to the Staff Association, which represents 13,000 employees and is demanding Wolfowitz resign.
France and Germany, among the largest shareholders in the bank, have declined to support Wolfowitz, leaving him dependent on the support of the Bush administration — the largest World Bank donor. Even some American allies, such as Britain, have admonished the former U.S. deputy secretary of defense.
Wolfowitz apologized last week for granting the raise to Shaha Riza, an eight-year bank veteran who worked as a communications officer. To comply with bank regulations that forbid one partner to report to another, she was transferred to the State Department while remaining on the bank payroll.