Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wolfowitz working on resignation deal (AP)


By Jeannine Aversa

WASHINGTON — Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is negotiating an agreement to resign, according to an official familiar with the talks.
His departure would include an acknowledgment from the bank that he doesn't bear sole responsibility for the controversy surrounding a generous pay package for his girlfriend, the official said.

The negotiations were taking place as the bank's board resumed deliberations over Wolfowitz's fate Wednesday afternoon.

The official said Wolfowitz wanted the bank to accept some responsibility for conflicts of interest cited against him by a special bank panel. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate state of the negotiations.

It was not clear whether the bank's 24-member board would accept Wolfowitz's terms.

Pressure on Wolfowitz to resign has grown since a special bank panel report, released Monday, found that he broke conflict-of-interest rules in his handling of the 2005 pay package of bank employee Shaha Riza.

Wolfowitz has maintained that he acted in good faith.

The White House, which picked Wolfowitz for the post, indicated for the first time on Tuesday that it was willing to consider new leadership for the bank.

By tradition, the World Bank has been run by an American, with the approval of the bank's board. The bank's sister agency, the International Monetary Fund, is headed by a European.

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