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European Nations Increase Pressure for World Bank President to Leave


Finance ministers from Belgium and the Netherlands are criticizing World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

Netherlands' Finance Minister Wouter Bos said Tuesday that the bank needs a president with "a good reputation and integrity."

Belgium's Didier Reynders said the Bank can not demand that nations meet standards of good governance if he fails to follow governance rules.

The comment follows news reports that a special panel of World Bank officials found that Wolfowitz broke bank rules by arranging a pay raise and promotion for his girlfriend who worked at the bank.

People familiar with the panel's report say Wolfowitz will have a chance to respond to the findings. Wolfowitz refuses to leave, saying he acted in good faith, and dismisses allegations against him as a "smear campaign."

A White House spokesman says President Bush still supports Wolfowitz.

One of Wolfowitz's key aides, Kevin Kellems, resigned Monday, saying the controversy makes it difficult for him to do his job.

The New York Times Tuesday quoted unnamed European officials saying they want Washington's help persuading Wolfowitz to resign voluntarily, rather than rebuking, or firing him.

It has been the custom for decades for Washington to pick the World Bank president, while European governments choose the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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