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Russia Squabbles With EU Over IMF Leadership

Russia challenged the European Union's choice to head the International Monetary Fund Wednesday.

The leader of the IMF has traditionally been a European, while the United States has had the choice for president of the World Bank.

But Moscow has nominated the former head of the Czech Republic's central bank Josef Tosovsky, to lead the IMF. Tosovsky also served briefly as Czech prime minister.

The EU, including the Czech Republic, is backing former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Russia argues that increasing globalization and the changing international financial system make it vital to make substantial reforms at the IMF. Russia's economic strength has grown in recent years as record-high prices for its oil have brought it new wealth.

Russia's attempts to influence the selection process come after clashing with Washington and the EU over a proposed anti-missile system and natural gas supplies to Europe.

The IMF is an international lending organization that specializes in aiding poor countries and developing economies. Current IMF chief Rodrigo Rato will leave his post at the end of October.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.