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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK
Bush wants American at World Bank
Paul Wolfowitz
Mr Wolfowitz's time at the World Bank has received mixed reviews
President George W Bush has confirmed for the first time that he wants an American to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as the head of the World Bank.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Mr Bush played down any suggestion that outgoing UK prime minister Tony Blair could get the job.

"I haven't talked to Tony Blair about it, but I do think it'd be good to have an American run the bank," he said.

Mr Wolfowitz is to stand down in June over a row involving his girlfriend.

'Rebuilding the Bank'

It is an informal rule that an American leads the World Bank, while a European heads the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Bush added that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in charge of the search for Mr Wolfowitz's successor, and will compile a short list for the president.

Leading candidates include former US trade representative Robert Zoellick and US deputy treasury secretary Robert Kimmitt.

Separately, the World Bank senior management team said in a letter to staff that the organisation was now ready to "begin the necessary rebuilding phase and make the Bank group a stronger and more effective institution for our development partners".

"All of us need to participate in this rebuilding," added the letter.

"We must continue to give our partner countries our undivided attention and focus on results."

Mr Wolfowitz is leaving the World Bank after he was caught up in a bitter row surrounding the promotion and salary of his girlfriend, Shaha Riza.

The World Bank said that Mr Wolfowitz had acted in good faith, but admitted that a "number of mistakes" were made.

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