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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Wolfowitz future still in balance
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz at the press conference
Mr Wolfowitz has apologised for his mistake

The future of beleaguered World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz remains in the balance despite a defiant statement that he intends to stay.

Mr Wolfowitz is still facing calls to resign after admitting helping his partner win a promotion and pay rise.

His fate lies in the hands of the executive board, which is under pressure to take a decision.

But a White House spokeswoman said President George W Bush still had "full confidence" in Mr Wolfowitz.

'Focus on job'

Dana Perino added that Mr Wolfowitz, formerly deputy defence secretary, had done a "very good job" at the World Bank.

"He is focused on Africa and other areas around the world that need the World Bank's attention," she said. "And the president continues to have confidence in him."

The Bank's board of directors is expected to meet in the next few days to discuss the affair.

Bank member governments have said the matter is of great concern and the bank's staff association have urged him to quit.

Shaha Riza
Ms Riza was seconded to the US state department

Mr Wolfowitz has vowed to stay on to continue what he called "important work".

"I believe in the mission of this organisation and I believe that I can carry it out," he said.

The Dutch development minister added his voice to those raising questions about the impact of Mr Wolfowitz's actions, saying he saw the situation as a "substantial crisis for the institution".

"I don't want to hide the fact that I have doubts about his functioning," Bert Koenders told Reuters.

He said that the bank lacked a clear sense of direction and hoped the board would come to a decision as a matter of urgency.

"There is also a lack of trust in the moment in the leadership and in the management, so that is something that has to be resolved," he said.

Germany's development minister hinted that the bank may face future difficulty in gaining funding from member states.

"An institution like the World Bank lives by its moral authority and its credibility," Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said.

A communiqué issued by development and finance ministers meeting in Washington said it was important the bank should maintain its credibility and reputation as well as the motivation of its staff.

Controversial nominee

The row concerns events that occurred shortly after Mr Wolfowitz assumed his position at the World Bank.

His girlfriend, Libyan-born Shaha Riza, was seconded from the World Bank to the US state department to avoid creating a conflict of interest.

There she received promotions and pay rises which the bank's staff association say were "grossly out of line" with bank rules.

The bank's executive board has said that it did not give its approval for Ms Riza's wage rise.

On Thursday, Mr Wolfowitz issued a statement apologising for the controversy.

Mr Wolfowitz was seen as a controversial nominee to the role from the beginning due to his part in driving forward the war in Iraq.




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