Mexico City : Robert Zoellick, U.S. President George W. Bush's choice to head the World Bank, said in Mexico Saturday that the international financial institution will still keep its influence if Venezuela withdraws.
Â Â Â Â Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has said that Venezuela is thinking about withdrawing from the World Bank, which he says is a tool of the United States that keeps poor nations in debt.
Â Â Â Â "If a country feels it doesn't need or want the services of the international financial institutions, that's their choice," Zoellick said at a news conference in Mexico city. "I've found no shortage of counties interested in trying to work with the World Bank."
Â Â Â Â He said the current problem of the World Bank is what new services and products can be developed for the different circumstances, but not the ones Chavez raises.
Â Â Â Â Some emerging countries, such as Mexico, do not now need World Bank loans, but they still benefit from the institution's knowledge and expertise, he added.
Â Â Â Â He said the World Bank would focus on war-torn countries like Sudan, Haiti and Afghanistan after he takes office.
Â Â Â Â Bush, whose country traditionally chooses the head of the World Bank, announced in late May that he had chosen Zoellick, a former U.S. trade chief and deputy secretary of state, to succeed bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who was forced to resign in a favoritism scandal.
Â Â Â Â As the only nominee to the position, Zoellick has already met individually with bank board members and on June 4 began a world tour. In Latin America, he also met officials from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Â Â Â Â Zoellick told reporters in Mexico that talks with members and World Bank staff will help make up the damage brought by the Wolfowitz scandal.
Â Â Â Â Zoellick is expected to be confirmed by the World Bank executive later this month.