Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Media Release




FA57
28 June 1996

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER TO SRI LANKA


I have today announced the appointment of Mr David Alexander Ritchie as High
Commissioner for Australia to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka with
non-resident accreditation to the Republic of Maldives.

He will succeed Mr Bill Tweddell who is my Chief of Staff.

The close bonds of friendship between Australia and Sri Lanka are fortified by our common
membership in the Commonwealth and the firm people-to-people ties generated by the
50 000-strong Sri Lankan community in Australia.

Australia has become the largest foreign investor in Sri Lanka and two-way trade, has more
than doubled in the past four years to $165 million. Australia's principal exports to Sri Lanka
are vegetable and milk products, sugar, crude petroleum and telecommunications equipment.
Tea and garments make up almost half of Australia's imports from Sri Lanka and Australia's
commercial relationship with Sri Lanka should continue to grow.

Australia has a cooperative and friendly relationship with the Maldives which extends to
issues of regional and international interest. We share a common interest with Sri Lanka and
the Maldives in strengthening aspirations for closer cooperation among the countries of the
Indian Ocean region.

Mr Ritchie is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has
served in Australian missions in Rome and Tel Aviv. From 1983 to 1984 he was Private
Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs; after further service in the Department, from
1988 to 1990 he was seconded to the Office of National Assessments. From 1991 to 1995 he
was High Commissioner in Apia, and then on return to Canberra he took up the position of
Assistant Secretary of the Office of Pacific Island Affairs.

Mr Ritchie has degrees from the University of Tasmania, Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) and
the Australian National University. He also studied at the Ecole National d'Administration in
Paris.

Mr Ritchie is expected to take up his appointment in late July 1996.