Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today announced the appointment of Mr David Ritchie AO as Australia's next Ambassador to Germany, with non-resident accreditation to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2014, replacing Mr Peter Tesch.
Mr Ritchie is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently Australia's Ambassador to Italy. He has previously served as Ambassador to Indonesia (2002-2005) and has had extensive experience in Germany, having served at the Australian Embassies in both East Berlin (1981-1983) and Bonn (1975-1978). Mr Ritchie has been a Deputy Secretary at DFAT since 2001 and was Senior Adviser, International Relations, in the Prime Minister's Office (1999-2001).
Mr Ritchie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Queensland in German language and literature. He has two children and is married. Mr Ritchie speaks German and Italian.
Australia and Germany enjoy a strong, cooperative relationship underpinned by political, economic and social links. Germany ranks eleventh among Australia's trading partners and tenth among our sources of foreign direct investment. Our people-to-people and cultural links are also strong, with high numbers of visitors travelling in both directions.
The signing of a bilateral Strategic Partnership by Foreign Ministers in January 2013 has laid a strong foundation to deepen and broaden consultation and cooperation on key issues such as international security, global economic growth and the environment. The Partnership provides a framework for building on our existing strong economic ties and working with Germany to advance Australia's interests in Europe. Australia and Germany also work together in the G20.
Switzerland is an important investment partner for Australia and our sixth largest source of foreign direct investment (2012). The Government is keen to develop these strong economic ties further. In addition, Switzerland hosts a range of important international organisations, such as United Nations Offices and the World Trade Organization.
Australia and Liechtenstein cooperate closely on multilateral issues through the United Nations.
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