MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER








FA133
November 1996


DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL


I have today announced the appointment of Mr Ian Newton Wilcock as Australian Ambassador to the State of Israel.

Mr Wilcock replaces Mr Peter William Rodgers, who has been Ambassador since January 1994.

The Australian Government greatly values the strong bonds forged between our two countries over many decades. The ties between Australia and Israel are firmly grounded in historical links, shared values and personal relationships. It is a priority of the Government to deepen and expand these ties.
Australia's trade relationship with Israel is solid but has not yet reached its full potential. Opportunities are still to be investigated in our respective markets in a range of sectors, including agriculture, high technology and environmental industries. The Government supports greater commercial exchanges and is encouraged by the increased number of business delegations between the two countries. The Government will continue to promote Australia not just as an attractive market in itself but also as a convenient springboard into Asia and the Pacific.
Australia remains committed to the search for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Australia supports the negotiation of a just, enduring and comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East, based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425, the principle of land for peace and the Oslo Declaration of Principles concluded between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

Mr Wilcock, a career officer who began work in the Department in 1972, has served in Australian missions in Tel Aviv and Manila. He was Counsellor and later Minister in the Australian Embassy in Washington (1986-89). His appointments within the Department have included Assistant Secretary, Americas Branch (1990-93). He is currently Minister at the Australian High Commission in London.

Mr Wilcock is a graduate of the Universities of Melbourne and Monash. He was a lecturer at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education before starting in the Deparment.