Germany says Wolfowitz situation unacceptable

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany believes Paul Wolfowitz’s position at the helm of the World Bank has become unsustainable, a German minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Wolfowitz, a former U.S. deputy defense secretary who helped plan the invasion in Iraq, has faced calls by World Bank staff to step down and questions about his leadership over his handling of a promotion he approved for his girlfriend.

“The situation, as it is, is no longer acceptable,” German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, told the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), in an early release of an article to run in its Monday edition.

“My conclusion is that Wolfowitz should do the bank a service and take the consequences himself. The sooner, the better.”

The FTD headline to the story read: “Government expects Wolfowitz’s resignation”. Wieczorek-Zeul is Germany’s minister responsible for World Bank issues.

Wolfowitz, whose appointment to the World Bank presidency in mid-2005 was controversial because of his role as an architect of the Iraq war while at the Pentagon, has refused to step down.

The U.S. government has backed Wolfowitz and urged leading European countries to withhold judgment until the World Bank’s 24-nation board decides on his future.