13 October 1995

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Vanuatu

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Gareth Evans, today announced the appointment of Mr Alan Edwards as Australian High Commissioner to the Republic of Vanuatu. Mr Edwards will replace Mr Peter Shannon, who has been High Commissioner since 1992.

As the first nation to establish a resident foreign mission in Port Vila (in 1978), Australia values highly the relationship which has developed between the two countries. Australia has contributed to Vanuatu's economic development through assistance focusing on human resource development, health services and sustainable management of natural resources. Defence Cooperation activities are also an important part of the relationship, with Australia providing equipment and training to protect Vanuatu's fisheries resource and undertake national infrastructure tasks. Another strong bond in the relationship is the assistance Australia's South Pacific 2000 program has provided towards preserving Vanuatu's rich cultural heritage and developing youth sports and athletics participation.

Mr Edwards is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1962 and has served in Paris, Saigon, Noumea, London and Singapore. From 1980 to 1984 he was Assistant Secretary, Africa and Middle East Branch (later Africa, South Asia and Middle East Branch). From 1984 to 1987 he was High Commissioner in Harare, and from 1988 to 1991 he was Assistant Secretary of Peace, Arms Control and Disarmament Branch. Mr Edwards is currently Ambassador to Greece, with concurrent accreditation to Bulgaria.

He is expected to take up his appointment in January 1996.