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Newsmaker: Robert Zoellick, Nominee to Lead World Bank


There are many calls for reform in the bank's operations and lending policies. But rebuilding relations and respect after the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz could be the new president's first job. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

Robert Zoellick is President Bush's choice to head the World Bank. He is fifty-three years old and currently a vice chairman at Goldman Sachs, the New York investment bank. He has held a number of government positions over the years.

From two thousand one to two thousand five he served as the United States trade representative. He helped launch the Doha Round of world trade talks which were suspended last July. He also worked on free trade agreements with Singapore, Chile, Australia and Morocco.

In two thousand five, President Bush asked Mister Zoellick to become deputy secretary of state. There, he helped negotiate a peace agreement between the government of Sudan and rebels in Darfur. That agreement later collapsed. He resigned in June of last year to join Goldman Sachs.

But last week, President Bush nominated Bob Zoellick to a five-year term as the eleventh president of the World Bank. The board of governors at the bank is expected to confirm the choice to replace Paul Wolfowitz.

Mister Wolfowitz resigned last month; his last day is June thirtieth. An investigation found that he violated bank rules in two thousand five when he negotiated a pay increase for his girlfriend, a bank employee. He denied any wrongdoing and said bank officials shared responsibility for the dispute. He joined the bank as president in two thousand five after serving as deputy secretary of defense.

European nations led efforts to remove Paul Wolfowitz, accusing him of corruption over the pay issue. But they generally did not support a change in the appointment process. Traditionally, the United States has appointed the World Bank chief while Europe has chosen leaders for the International Monetary Fund. The two lenders were created in the nineteen forties.

Some countries, however, have criticized the sixty-year-old tradition. They say it makes the development lenders into tools of rich nations. Brazil, South Africa and Australia urged the United States to appoint a new bank president using an open process not limited by nationality.

The World Bank is owned by its one hundred eighty-four member nations. Many development experts and others are calling for reforms in its operations and its lending policies for poor countries. But rebuilding relations and respect could be Robert Zoellick's first job.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. I'm Shep O'Neal.

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