Wolfowitz-World Bank Negotiations Stall

World Bank officials say the negotiations between the bank's board and a lawyer for World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz stalled today when the two sides could not agree on an "exit strategy" to allow Wolfowitz to "save face" over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank.

The officials said the bank's board had hoped to accept Wolfowitz's resignation but also acknowledge that the World Bank's Ethics Committee bears "some responsibility" for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.

Wolfowitz canceled a scheduled trip tonight to Europe, and officials said it was unlikely to be rescheduled.


German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said yesterday, "He would do the bank and himself a great service if he resigned." The German said Wolfowitz would not be welcome at an Africa forum the bank is holding next week in Berlin should he refuse to resign.

Wolfowitz made an impassioned plea to the board last night to clear his name before leaving.

He said the inquiry into his conduct "has the potential to do greater long-term damage to the institution than the alleged underlying ethics issue that was, in point of fact, put to rest over a year ago."

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