MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA110

14 August 1998

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador To Lebanon

I have today announced the appointment of Mr John Fennessy as Australian Ambassador to Lebanon.

Mr Fennessy will replace Mr lan Parmeter, who has been Ambassador since February 1996.

Australia has a long and close relationship with Lebanon. This is based in part on the deep community links that exist between our two countries. The 300,000 strong Lebanese community in Australia, including some 72,000 who were born in Lebanon, has had a profound and positive impact on Australian society.

The re-opening of Australia's Embassy in 1995 signalled Australia's confidence in post-war Lebanon and the further development of our relations. In 1997, total two-way trade between Australia and Lebanon was $49 million. The Government is now actively exploring with the Lebanese Government and business community how Australia might assist in the reconstruction process. Areas of particular interest include telecommunications, higher education and vocational training, environmental management, health services, transport, water supply and agriculture.

Mr Fennessy joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1970. He has served overseas in the following posts: Dar es Salaam (1972-74), Ankara (1978-80), Wellington (1983-85), Warsaw (1988-90) and Seoul (1994-97). His appointments in Canberra have included the following areas of the Department: legal and treaties, defence policy, United Nations legal, law of the sea and Antarctica, central and southern Africa, nuclear policy, disarmament, freedom of information, environment, multilateral trade and security.

Mr Fennessy is a graduate of the Australian National University and holds Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Master of International Law degrees. Mr Fennessy, 50, is married with one daughter and one son.

Mr Fennessy is expected to take up his appointment in February 1999.

For further information: 

Innes Willox: (02) 6277 7500 or
Tony Melville: (02) 6261 1555


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