19 August 1997



I have today announced the appointment of Dr Malcolm Leader as Australian Ambassador to Cambodia.

Dr Leader will replace Mr Anthony Kevin, who has completed his three year term as Ambassador (commenced in July 1994).

The plight of the Cambodian people during the Khmer Rouge years moved the Australian people deeply. Australia played an important role in the reconstruction of Cambodia, through our role in the Paris Peace Accords and in the United Nations force, UNTAC, which gave Cambodia the chance to make a new start after more than 20 years of conflict.

The outbreak of fighting in Cambodia of 5-6 July was a cause of great concern to the Australian Government and we condemned the use of military force to bring about political change. Nonetheless, the Australian Government is committed to helping Cambodia in the process of national reconstruction and reconciliation. To this end, the Australian Government is fully supportive of international efforts to help restore political stability to Cambodia. The Australian Government has urged the Cambodian Government to uphold the principles of the Paris Peace Accords and the constitution, protect human rights, and form as broadly-based a Government as possible. The Australian Government also attaches the highest importance to the holding of free and fair elections as scheduled in May 1998.

Dr Leader is a career officer who began work in 1971. Following early postings in the Australian missions in Paris and Port Moresby, he was Consul-General in Noumea (1980-82), Minister in the Australian Embassy in Paris (1987-91) and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1991-93). His more recent appointments within the department have included the United Nations Social and Technical Section, South Pacific Bilateral Section, Departmental Counsellor, Papua New Guinea Section, Policy Coordination Section (1983-87) and Coordinator, National Trade and Investment Outlook Conference (Melbourne, Nov 1993). He has been Assistant Secretary, Resources Branch, since 1994.

Dr Leader is a graduate of the University of Western Australia. Before commencing work with the then Department of Foreign Affairs, he was a senior tutor in French studies at the University of Western Australia (1969-70). In 1994 he spent his long service leave as a visiting fellow, Department of Modern European Languages, Australian National University and as an honorary visiting research associate, Department of French Studies, University of Western Australia.

Dr Leader is expected to take up his appointment in late September 1997.