Defiant Wolfowitz refusing to budge

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Paul Wolfowitz is clinging on to his position as president of the World Bank despite growing calls for his resignation.

The close ally of US president George Bush is under attack after apologising last week for becoming engulfed in a corruption scandal that threatens the reputation of his organisation.

Mr Wolfowitz had claimed that his long-term girlfriend, Shaha Riza, had had her lucrative promotion approved by the Bank's ethics committee.

But the Bank's board denied the claims, forcing Mr Wolfowitz, who was controversially appointed to his current post in 2005, into a humbling apology.

"In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations. I made a mistake, for which I am sorry," he said last week.

One of the World Bank's most important roles in encouraging improvements in developing countries is using its financial clout to encourage governments to fight corruption and spend their loaned funds wisely.

Despite widespread calls for his departure, given the undermining effect the scandal could have on the organisation's reputation, Mr Wolfowitz yesterday said he planned on continuing in his job.

"I believe in the mission of this organisation and I believe that I can carry it out," he told journalists.

The Bank's board is currently considering whether or not it needs to remove Mr Wolfowitz from his current position.

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