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The board of the World Bank unanimously approved Paul D. Wolfowitz as its new president Thursday, affirming the administration's choice to take the helm of the 184-nation development bank.

Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary who helped plan the Iraq war, will begin his five-year term June 1.

"Nothing is more gratifying than being able to help people in need and developing opportunities for all the people of the world to achieve their full potential," Wolfowitz said.

The bank's mission is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in developing countries. It lends around $20 billion a year to developing countries. The installation of Wolfowitz enables the Bush administration to put its imprint on the bank.

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