U.S., Europe urged to join hands in Iraq

World Bank President James Wolfensohn indicated Tuesday the bank won’t be able to launch full reconstruction work in Iraq unless the United States and European countries form a united front in establishing security there.

“We’re waiting very anxiously for the restoration of some security so that we can have a full team (in Iraq),” Wolfensohn told a news conference in Tokyo, indirectly urging Washington as well as France and Germany to iron out their differences over the transfer of sovereignty.

“And I think we, along with our Japanese counterparts and other donors, suffer from the security situation at the moment,” he said before winding up a three-day visit to Japan.

Wolfensohn expressed hope that the U.S. and its Group of Eight partners will reach a conclusion on the sovereignty transfer issue at their summit to be held from Tuesday to June 10 on Sea Island, Ga.

“We’re looking forward to a successful outcome of the transition discussions and the restoration of peace so that we can get on the job of helping our Iraqi colleagues to rebuild their country,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Wolfensohn attended a ceremony to set up a World Bank development learning center in Tokyo in collaboration with the government. He met with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday.