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Cablegate: German Government Welcomes Zoellick

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FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8441
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UNCLAS BERLIN 001104

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USEU FOR PATRICIA LERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON ECIN EMIN ETRD PREL GM
SUBJECT: German Government Welcomes Zoellick
World Bank Nomination

REF: SECSTATE 73691

1. Germany welcomed President Bush's May 30
nomination of Robert Zoellick to be President of
the World Bank. On behalf of Chancellor Merkel
(CDU), Minister for Economic Cooperation and
Development, Heidi Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD), praised
the choice and described Zoellick as a "good
candidate who would come to the World Bank with a
high degree of international experience." She
added that Germany would look forward to
"dialogue with [Zoellick] and the other
representatives of the World Bank on the future
of the institution and the challenges it faces."
Wieczorek-Zeul specifically mentioned the fight
against poverty, the implementation of the
Millennium Development Goals, and efforts to
combat climate change as issues facing the next
World Bank president. Recently, the Development
Minister, who also serves as Germany's World Bank
Governor, stressed that Germany would look to the
Bank to take active steps on new debt relief
initiatives for African countries.

2. Press reports indicate that Zoellick's
nomination received strong public support from
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck (SPD).
Contacts in the Minister's office privately
confirmed to Emboff that Steinbrueck had
responded favorably to requests from many
European ambassadors in Berlin who had sought his
assessment. The Foreign Ministry additionally
welcomed the nomination. Karsten Voigt, the
Ministry's Coordinator for German-U.S. relations,
praised the announcement in press interviews.
(Note: MFA contacts privately informed Emboff
that the government plans to emphasize publicly
that Zoellick is one of the few U.S. recipients
of the Federal President's Cross of Merit, Star
Class ("Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Stern") -- the
nation's most prestigious award. End note.)

3. Wieczorek-Zeul's warm welcome to Zoellick
comes in the wake of her harsh criticism of
outgoing World Bank President Wolfowitz.
Wieczorek-Zeul took a public stance against
Wolfowitz remaining at the helm of the World Bank
following allegations of ethical misconduct. In
recent weeks, she used numerous public fora to
emphasize the need she saw for strong leadership
at the top of the institution which she felt
Wolfowitz could no longer guarantee. On May 16,
Wieczorek-Zeul publicly announced that she had
effectively rescinded his invitation to the G-
8/World Bank forum later that month in Berlin.

TIMKEN JR.

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