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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK
New adjournment on Wolfowitz fate
Paul Wolfowitz
Paul Wolfowitz has been resisting pressure to resign
The World Bank's board says it will resume on Thursday discussions on the fate of its President, Paul Wolfowitz.

He has been at the centre of a scandal over alleged favouritism. His lawyer says the board will have to vote to sack him if it wants to get rid of him.

"Mr Wolfowitz will not resign under this cloud," Robert Bennett told Reuters news agency.

The statement followed unconfirmed reports that Mr Wolfowitz was trying to negotiate terms for his resignation.

It was reported that he wanted the board to agree to accept some of the blame for the scandal relating to his girlfriend's pay rise.


Earlier, White House spokesman Tony Snow said they had to "figure out a way forward to maintain the integrity of the institution" after the current scandal.

The comments have been taken as a signal that the Bush administration's support for Mr Wolfowitz is waning - although Mr Snow insisted that "we have confidence in him".

A protester outside the World Bank in Washington

Mr Wolfowitz is under pressure to resign after the panel said he had broken the bank's code of conduct by helping to secure a pay rise for his partner, Shaha Riza.

On Tuesday he told the board that their decision would affect how the US and the world viewed the World Bank.

"You still have the opportunity to avoid long-term damage by resolving this matter in a fair and equitable way that recognises that we all tried to do the right thing," Mr Wolfowitz said in a statement.

But opposition to Mr Wolfowitz is mounting, especially in Europe.

"He would do the bank and himself a great service if he resigned," according to the German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.

She suggested he would not be welcome at the World Bank's forum on aid for Africa, which is due to start in Berlin on Monday.

"I would not advise him [to take part] if he's still in office," she said.

'Opposition building'

On Monday, a panel of World Bank executives said Mr Wolfowitz provoked a "conflict of interest" at the bank by breaking its code of conduct and violating the terms of his contract.

Mr Wolfowitz has faced calls for him to step down since details emerged about his role in securing a pay rise for his partner, Shaha Riza, who used to work at the bank.

Mr Snow told journalists at the White House that Mr Wolfowitz agreed "a lot of mistakes were made" in the process, but they were not a "firing offence".

When Mr Wolfowitz was appointed president of the World Bank in 2005, Ms Riza was transferred to work for the US state department, to avoid any conflict of interest.

But her salary rose quickly to about $193,000 (98,000) - more than the $186,000 that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice receives before tax.

The World Bank has since been investigating the extent of Mr Wolfowitz's role in securing the pay increase.

The implications for the status of the World Bank

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