16 July 1998

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Jordan

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Ian Russell as Australian Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Mr Russell will replace Ms Merry Wickes, who has been Ambassador since December 1995.

Australia and Jordan enjoy a warm relationship, with Australia welcoming and supporting Jordan's role as a moderate and constructive player in the Middle East.

Trade between the countries has developed significantly in recent years. In 1997, imports from Jordan were worth $A3 1.6 million, while Australian exports to Jordan were worth $A5 1.2 million. Principal exports were live sheep and cattle (which accounts for around 50% of trade) and meat and dairy products, grains, inorganic chemicals, plastics and machinery. Imports for the same period consisted almost entirely of phosphates, potash and processed fertilisers. Jordan has a Trade Agreement with Australia and has applied to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mr Russell is a career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1969. He has previously served at Australian missions in Berlin, Wellington and Copenhagen. Positions he has held in the Department include Director of the South Asia Section, Director, India Section, Head of the Cambodia Task Force and Director, Human Rights Section. Mr Russell is currently Director of the Department's Consular Operations Section.

Mr Russell holds an MA and Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University. He is married to Diane Russell, who is also an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They have two children.

Mr Russell will take up his appointment in October 1998.


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