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US Picks Zoellick as Next World Bank President
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The US administration will name former Trade Representative Robert Zoellick to lead the World Bank, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity that President George W. Bush will announce the decision on Wednesday.

Zoellicks's "experience and long career in international trade, finance and diplomacy" will "make him uniquely prepared to take on this challenge," said the official.

"He has the trust and respect of many officials around the world and believes deeply in the World Bank's mission of tackling poverty," he added.

The White House expects Zoellick's selection, which has received positive reaction from other nations, will be accepted by the World Bank executive board, agencies reports said.

Zoellick, now an executive at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, has emerged as the frontrunner to be the next president of the World Bank since Paul Wolfowitz announced his resignation two weeks ago.

As Bush's first trade representative, Zoellick, 53, played a leading role in efforts to revive the Doha round of world trade talks. He later served as deputy secretary of state and has widespread experience of and high-level contacts with Europe, China, Latin America and Africa. He left the government last year to join investment bank Goldman Sachs.

By tradition, the United States, as the bank's largest shareholder, names the World Bank chief and Europe nominates the leader of the International Monetary Fund.

The Bush administration has insisted to choose an American to replace Wolfowitz despite pressure from Brazil and other developing countries to open the candidacy to any nationality.

The nomination must be approved by the bank's 24-member executive board.

Wolfowitz, former US deputy defense secretary, agreed to resign following a special bank report concluded he has placed himself in a conflict of interest situation over the his girlfriend assignment and pay package.

Riza was rapidly promoted and ended up with a package of tax-free salary to about 193,000 dollars, more even than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice receives before tax.

Wolfowitz's resignation officially takes effect on June 30.

He told the BBC in an interview broadcast yesterday that he was forced to resign because of an "overheated" atmosphere at the bank and press coverage of his role in winning a pay and promotion package for his girlfriend.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2007)

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