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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
US nominates new World Bank chief
President George Bush and Robert Zoellick

US President George W Bush has nominated Robert Zoellick, former deputy secretary of state, to be president of the World Bank.

His nomination will be considered by the World Bank's 24-member board of governors, although the US nomination has always been accepted in the past.

Mr Zoellick would replace Paul Wolfowitz, who steps down on 30 June.

Some members have called for candidates from outside the United States to be considered for the job.

'Trust'

Accepting the nomination, Mr Zoellick acknowledged that he had much work to do to deal with the tensions which unseated his predecessor.

"We need to put yesterday's discord behind us and focus on the future together," he said.

President Bush said of Mr Zoellick: "He has earned the trust and support of leaders from every region of the world."

"He is deeply devoted to the mission of the World Bank," he added.

He has to establish or rather re-establish confidence in the institution because it was a dark chapter with Wolfowitz
Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign Minister

As deputy secretary of state, Mr Zoellick was chief aide to Condoleezza Rice between February 2005 and June last year.

He is also an ex-US trade representative and is currently an executive at the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Mr Zoellick's choice was praised by the new French government.

"Mr. Zoellick is certainly the right man for the job," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said.

But he added: "He has to establish or rather re-establish confidence in the institution because it was a dark chapter with Wolfowitz."

Criticism

But Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, said that he thought Mr Zoellick was a terrible choice.

Robert Zoellick (left) and President Bush
President Bush said Mr Zoellick had built trust in all his top-level jobs

"Zoellick has no significant experience in economic development in poor countries," he said.

"He has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medication for millions of people."

President Bush also used his nomination speech to pay tribute to Paul Wolfowitz.

"I thank him for his dedication to the poor and his devotion to the good work of the World Bank," he said.

"Bob Zoellick is the right man to succeed Paul in this vital work."


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President Bush and Robert Zoellick at a news conference



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