Skip to comments.Wolfowitz says "overheated" row forced him to quit
Posted on 05/28/2007 9:19:49 AM PDT by knighthawk
LONDON (Reuters) - The former head of the World Bank Paul Wolfowitz, who resigned in a row about his companion's promotion, said on Monday he had been forced to quit because emotions at the organisation had become "overheated".
In a BBC interview, Wolfowitz defended his record as the bank's president, saying he was proud of what he had achieved during his two years in the job.
Wolfowitz, resigned on May 17 but had fought hard up to the last hour to clear his name of any charges of misconduct after a bank panel found he broke several bank rules by involving himself in the promotion of his friend Shaha Riza, a Middle East expert at the bank.
"Emotions here were so overheated that I don't think I could have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish for the people I really care about," he said.
"People were reacting to a whole string of inaccurate statements and by the time we got to anything approximating accuracy the passions were around the bend."
Wolfowitz, a former U.S. deputy defence secretary who was a leading architect of the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq, came to the bank in 2005 despite unease in European nations, which are some of the bank's biggest funders.
His resignation comes into effect on June 30.
In what the BBC World Service billed as an exclusive interview, Wolfowitz was asked whether he had any regrets.
His answer was simply: "Oh probably a couple, but right now I feel pretty good."
Wolfowitz also commented about the appointment of a new World Bank president -- a post traditionally held by an American -- and said he would like to see more African representatives in the organisation.
"I think if we're going to take African voices seriously. then there need to be more of them," he said. "There also needs to be a much more concerted effort to increase the African voices in the bank's staff."