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Wolfowitz Resigns; Officially Leaves Post in June

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz returns to his home in Maryland after the bank announced his resignation.
Win McNamee
Getty Images
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz returns to his home in Maryland after the bank announced his resignation.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has resigned. Pressure for Wolfowitz to step down has grown since the release of a report on his handling of a 2005 pay raise for his girlfriend, who is also a bank employee.

Under the terms of the resignation, Wolfowitz will leave office at the end of June. But he is expected to remove himself immediately from the bank's day-to-day business.

The announcement followed two days of intense negotiations between Wolfowitz and the bank's executive board. The negotiations mostly involved the language that the announcement would be phrased in — and how Wolfowitz's resignation would be explained.

Wolfowitz would seem to have prevailed in at least part of that discussion: The bank released two statements about the resignation — one from the board and one from Wolfowitz.

While the board's version of events weighs in at 415 words, Wolfowitz took 1,999 words to touch on a number of subjects, from the bank's duty to serve Africa's poor to a list of the agency's accomplishments during his tenure.

Wolfowitz's final paragraph began, "Change should not be feared, it is something to welcome."

Speaking at a Rose Garden press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday, President Bush seemed to suggest that Wolfowitz was ready to leave.

"I regret that it's come to this," the president said. "I admire Paul Wolfowitz. I admire his heart. And I particularly admired his focus on helping the poor."

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Tom Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.