Australia appoints three new ambassadors

By on 17/11/2015
Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop

Three new ambassadors have been appointed by the Australian government.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) last Thursday announced Paul Wojciechowski as new ambassador to Poland; and yesterday it named Peter Tesch as Australia’s new ambassador to Russia and Arthur Spyrou as next ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Both, Wojciechowski and Tesch are currently senior career officers at the DFAT, and Spyrou is a career officer at the department.

All three appointments are expected to take up their roles in January.

Tesch’s appointment to Russia comes “at a challenging juncture in Russia’s relations with Australia and many other countries, as we seek to resolve conflict in eastern Ukraine and Syria and pursue justice for the victims of MH17,” foreign minister Julie Bishop said.

Australian mining expertise and technology is valued by Russian mining companies looking to enhance productivity, Bishop said, adding that “Russia continues to be an important player in global affairs, including in disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation.”

Tesch is currently the head of the DFAT’s International Security Division and has previously served as Ambassador to Germany, deputy permanent representative to the UN in New York, and ambassador to Kazakhstan, after working at the Australian Embassy in Moscow.

Wojciechowski, currently assistant secretary of the department’s economic advocacy and analysis branch, where he is responsible for coordinating the Government’s economic diplomacy agenda, has previously served overseas as counsellor at the Australian Embassy and permanent mission to the EU in Brussels, with earlier postings in Jakarta and Seoul.

Poland and Australia share a “modern partnership based on strong people-to-people links and shared democratic values,” Bishop said and described Poland as a “growing market for Australia’s commercial interests.”  Poland, she said, “plays an increasingly important role within the EU, having made a strong transition to a market-based economy integrated into the broader European Union and global economy.”

About 170,000 Australians claim Polish heritage, and around 74,000 claim Russian ancestry.

Commenting on Spyrou’s posting to the UAE, Bishop said: Bilateral relations between Australia and the UAE are multi-faceted and growing rapidly, underpinned by extensive trade relations.

“The UAE is Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and was our tenth largest source of foreign direct investment in 2014, with investments valued at nearly $15bn.

“Two-way goods and services trade totalled $8.64bn in 2014, with Australian exports to the UAE growing 15.6% to $3.66bn.”

Expanding commercial links with the region is a key priority, she said, adding that “an estimated 22,000 Australians live and work in the UAE.”

Spyrou has previously served overseas as counsellor in the Australian High Commission in Malaysia and had an earlier posting in France.

In Canberra he has been director of sections responsible for management, conduct and corporate strategy, bilateral relations with Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos and also for Australia’s engagement with the United Nations and Commonwealth.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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