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Bush picks Zoellick as new World Bank chief

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070529/ts_nm/worldbank_bush_zoellick_dc_5;_ylt=AglZpgGgrvkGdy1sYrEXy_UGw_IE Bush picks Zoellick as new World Bank chief By
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2007
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070529/ts_nm/worldbank_bush_zoellick_dc_5;_ylt=AglZpgGgrvkGdy1sYrEXy_UGw_IE

      Bush picks Zoellick as new World Bank chief

      By Tabassum Zakaria 29 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush has
      chosen Robert Zoellick, a former U.S. trade
      representative, to replace Paul Wolfowitz as president
      of the World Bank, a senior American official said on
      Tuesday.

      Bush plans to announce his selection on Wednesday and
      expects the bank's board to accept it, the
      administration official said. World Bank directors
      have never blocked a nomination in the past.

      Bush wanted an American to succeed Wolfowitz, despite
      calls from World Bank member countries and some U.S.
      lawmakers to throw the process open to a global pool
      of candidates.

      The controversy over Wolfowitz's authorization of a
      hefty raise for his companion, Middle East expert
      Shaha Riza, deepened rifts among bank staff already
      disgruntled by his anti-corruption agenda and prompted
      sharp criticism from shareholder countries.

      Wolfowitz also was controversial because of his role
      as an architect of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of
      Iraq while serving in Bush's Defense Department.

      Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson received "positive
      reactions" from other countries to the choice of
      Zoellick, the administration official told reporters.

      Zoellick left his job as deputy secretary of state
      last year to join Wall Street investment bank Goldman
      Sachs & Co.

      He had been tipped as a candidate last year to become
      Treasury Secretary, but that job went to then-Goldman
      Sachs chief executive Paulson instead.

      As Bush's first trade representative, Zoellick helped
      launch the Doha round of world trade talks and
      completed negotiations to bring China and Taiwan into
      the World Trade Organization. He continued a major
      focus on China as Secretary of State Condoleezza
      Rice's top deputy.

      MIXED REACTION

      "He's an outstanding choice. What he brings to the
      bank is an ability to get things done, an ability to
      work with people and an excellent reputation among
      foreign policy types across the world ... something we
      badly need," former Secretary of State James Baker,
      who has worked closely with Zoellick, told Reuters by
      telephone.

      Baker acknowledged that Zoellick does not have
      extensive development experience, but said he was a
      pragmatist who "knows how to build coalitions and
      achieve consensus" -- crucial at a large bureaucratic
      organization like the World Bank.

      Others were concerned about naming another Bush
      loyalist to head the bank and saw this as a missed
      opportunity.

      "The second, high-ranking George W. Bush
      administration foreign policy, national security
      official in a row, I think is a mistake," said Rep.
      Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record), a
      Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House of
      Representatives Financial Services Committee.

      Zoellick was one of 18 mostly conservative figures,
      including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
      Wolfowitz, who wrote a much publicized letter to
      former President Bill Clinton in 1998 advocating
      removing
      Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.

      Soon after that he was chosen as a member of the
      "Vulcans" -- a group of about eight senior-level
      officials, mostly from President Bush's father's
      administration -- brought together under Rice to
      advise candidate George W. Bush on foreign policy
      before his 2000 presidential election.

      Bush made the final decision on Zoellick over the
      weekend, said the senior U.S. official. Asked whether
      the World Bank board would approve of Zoellick, the
      official said, "We have every confidence in that."

      "They have got a world class nominee, probably the
      most qualified person one could have expected from the
      Bush Administration at this point," said Jeffrey
      Schott, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for
      International Economics in Washington.

      The United States has traditionally selected the head
      of the World Bank -- a convention started when the
      institution was founded 60 years ago -- while Europe
      has chosen the head of its sister organization, the
      International Monetary Fund.

      (Additional reporting by Alister Bull, Tim Ahmann and
      Carol Giacomo in Washington)
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