Today I announce the appointment of Peter Tesch as Australia's next Ambassador to Russia with non-resident accreditation to Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Mr Tesch will take up his appointment 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.  We have, however, worked productively together as chairs of the G20 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

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

The outstanding success of the National Gallery of Victoria’s hosting of the exhibition of masterpieces from Russia’s Hermitage Museum reminds us that, whatever the difficulties between governments of the day, there is a great love for Russian culture and literature in Australia.   About 74,000 Australians claim Russian ancestry.

Australia enjoys positive relationships with the countries of Central Asia including a growing trade and investment relationship with Kazakhstan.  Our relations with Armenia, Belarus and Moldova are underpinned by cooperation on some important multilateral issues such as people trafficking and international security.

Mr Tesch is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently the head of its International Security Division.  He has served overseas as Ambassador to Germany, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York and Ambassador to Kazakhstan.  He earlier served at the Australian Embassy in Moscow.

In Canberra, Mr Tesch has led branches in DFAT responsible for ICT and also for arms control.  Earlier in his career he served as Deputy Director of DFAT’s State Office in Victoria and worked on the staff of the former Minister for Trade.

Mr Tesch holds a BA (Honours) from the University of Queensland.  He speaks Russian.

Mr Tesch is expected to take up his appointment in January 2016.  I thank outgoing Ambassador Paul Myler for his contribution to advancing Australia’s interests in Russia since 2013.

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