www.wolfowitzresign.com May 21, 2007

"Mission (Actually) Accomplished!" We are retiring. Good luck with the search for a successor.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bush voices 'regret'

AFP: US President George W. Bush expressed "regret" over the favoritism scandal engulfing World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz as the bank's board deliberated his fate for a third straight day.

"I applaud his vision, I respect him a lot, and I regret it's come to this," Bush said in answer to a reporter's question about the embattled head of the poverty-fighting development lender. See comment for full story

4 comments:

wolfowitzmustresign said...

Bush voices 'regret' as World Bank mulls Wolfowitz's fate

17 May 2007
12:36

Agence France Presse

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2007 (AFP) -

US President George W. Bush expressed "regret" over the favoritism scandal engulfing World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz as the bank's board deliberated his fate for a third straight day.

Bush, speaking at a joint White House news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, did not restate his view that Wolfowitz, whom he had named for the World Bank post in 2005, should keep his job.

"I applaud his vision, I respect him a lot, and I regret it's come to this," Bush said in answer to a reporter's question about the embattled head of the poverty-fighting development lender.

"There's a board meeting going on as we speak," the US president said, adding that he believed Wolfowitz and bank officials had acted "in good faith."

"All I can tell you is that I know Paul Wolfowitz has an interest in what's best for the bank, and just like I said, an interest for making sure the bank focused on things that matter, human suffering, the human condition."

Wolfowitz, a longtime Bush ally, was reported to be willing to resign and was trying to negotiate a compromise deal that would recognize the bank's flawed advice in resolving the conflict-of-interest situation with his longtime companion, Shaha Riza, a bank employee.

A source close to the bank said Wednesday that a deal being considered would have the bank recognize that it could have given him better guidance on avoiding a possible conflict of interest.

European countries have led the drive for the former US deputy defense secretary's departure from the 185-country bank for more than a month. White House support waned in recent days as the controversy has deepened.

A fresh call came Thursday in the Slovenian capital of Bled, where an annual World Bank conference on development economics opened. Wolfowitz, who had planned to deliver the keynote address Thursday night, cancelled his appearance.

"Now this scandal has been dragging on for too long, which is undermining the credibility of the institution," Slovenian Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk told journalists on the sidelines of the meeting.

It would be best if "the gentleman should withdraw," he was quoted as saying by the STA news agency.

A scathing report released by an internal panel this week found that Wolfowitz violated bank rules in arranging a generous promotion and pay package for Riza shortly after he assumed the bank presidency.

The report also said the bank had given him cloudy instructions on how to resolve the matter.

The Bush administration had been resolutely backing Wolfowitz -- one of the key architects of the Iraq war -- despite mounting calls for him to resign during the month-old scandal.

But that support began to crumble this week after the internal report found he had breached the bank's ethics rules.

On Tuesday Wolfowitz had pleaded with directors to let him keep his job, in which he has made fighting corruption a priority.

"I have said I am not without fault in the matter," Wolfowitz said of the scandal surrounding Riza, who ended up earning almost 200,000 dollars a year when she was transferred to the State Department, still on the World Bank's payroll.

Wolfowitz acknowledged he had relied too heavily on outside advisers he brought in to the bank, and pledged to change his management style "to regain the trust of the staff."

Anonymous said...

This is all quite unfair. The report of the experts against Wolfowitz acuses him of not being aware of the Staff Rules and Code of Conduct.

Not only are these thousands of pages long each, no staff member of the Bank has ever read them! If the rules were to be applied as zealously to every staff member and mamanger decision, half of them would loose their job.

Ultimately things work by convention, and if the ethics committee gives the go ahead, ahead you go. Period.

The ad hoc groups shold have also investigated the actions of ethics committee.

Frankly, this is all a political manouver by disaffected staff who did not want changes to status quo. Pathetic.

I think it will stop short if Bush threatens to nominate John Bolton as successor.

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