M116

25 September 1995

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: Ambassador to Syria

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Gareth Evans, today announced the appointment of Mr Jim Dollimore as Australian Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr Dollimore will replace Mr Paul Robilliard, who has been Ambassador since September 1992.

Senator Evans said Syria was a major regional leader and Australia attached great importance to Syria's involvement both in the Middle East Peace Process and in the resolution of other regional problems. Australia had a natural interest in seeking a successful outcome to the negotiations and would continue to follow developments in Syria closely.

Senator Evans noted that as a result of the re-opening of the Australian Embassy in Beirut, the Australian Ambassador in Damascus would no longer have to divide his time between Syria and Lebanon. Mr Dollimore would be able to devote all his energy to developing the relationship with Syria. Australia valued its relations with Syria and looked forward to achieving a deeper dialogue on a broad range of issues.

Mr Dollimore is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1975 after working as a journalist in Perth, London and Singapore. During 1990 and 1991, he was a member of the Department's Kuwait crisis task force, and represented the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government's Gulf War crisis centre at Parliament House. Mr Dollimore worked in the Department of Industrial Relations from 1992 to 1994. He returned to DFAT last year and is presently head of the Middle East and Africa Branch.

Mr Dollimore was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1990.

Mr Dollimore is expected to take up his appointment in early 1996.

CANBERR