Sarah Armstrong

Media release

24 December 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed a decision by Mongolian authorities to lift travel bans on Australian lawyer Sarah Armstrong who has been prevented from leaving Mongolia since October 19.

Senator Carr said the Australian Consul-General in Mongolia had been advised Ms Armstrong was not a focus of any ongoing investigation and was free to depart.

"This is great news for Sarah and her family," Senator Carr said.

"I understand she took the opportunity to depart Mongolia this afternoon on a commercial flight.

"I thank the Mongolian Government and particularly Foreign Minister Bold for their willingness to resolve this matter.

"I also applaud our consular staff in Ulaan Bataar, including Consuls General David Lawson and Tony Burchill who worked tirelessly in making representations on Ms Armstrong's behalf.

"I understand her family have been advised of her departure from Mongolia and look forward to seeing her for Christmas."

Ms Armstrong – the general counsel for a mining firm - had been prevented from leaving Mongolia since October 19 in order to assist authorities with an investigation into commercial matters.

Australian consular staff in Ulaan Bataar and Seoul remained in regular contact with Ms Armstrong, accompanied her to five of her six interviews with authorities and made representations on her behalf to the Mongolian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Senator Carr raised Ms Armstrong's case directly with Mongolian Foreign Minister Bold on November 8. Representations were also made to the Mongolian Ambassador to Australia on October 22 and December 21.

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