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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Wolfowitz 'to meet EU officials'
Paul Wolfowitz
Mr Wolfowitz has been a controversial choice
Paul Wolfowitz, Washington's nomination to head the World Bank, is expected to meet European Union officials on Wednesday, reports have said.

It is believed EU leaders will press Mr Wolfowitz, currently US deputy defence secretary, on his plans for the job.

Some in Europe have expressed concern at Mr Wolfowitz's appointment, as he was a key architect of the Iraq war.

But it appears likely he will be given the top World Bank job, possibly as early as Thursday.

Since the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were established after the end of World War II, the US has traditionally chosen who will head the former, while Europe chooses the boss of the latter.

Poverty pledge

While Mr Wolfowitz's nomination has raised eyebrows in Europe - Luxembourg's economics minister Jeannot Krecke said there was "some concern" at the situation - his appointment appears a formality.

The informal talks with EU officials in Brussels on Wednesday will give Mr Wolfowitz a chance to smooth the water.

A key "neo-conservative" in President George W Bush's administration, Mr Wolfowitz has already given a newspaper interview in which he pledged he would not use the World Bank job to promote American-style democracy-building.

Instead he told the Jakarta Post he would be focusing solely on tackling global poverty, and pledged to be an "international civil servant".

London's Financial Times newspaper has speculated that EU officials may use their meeting with Mr Wolfowitz to press him to appoint a European deputy at the World Bank.

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