MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA 69

21 June 1999

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner To Bangladesh

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Robert Flynn, as Australia's next High Commissioner to the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Mr Flynn will replace Mr Charles Stuart, who has been High Commissioner since September 1996. He is expected to take up his appointment in September 1999.

Bangladesh is a major South Asian country. Australia was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh after it achieved independence in 1971. Since then the two countries have developed a constructive and expanding relationship both bilaterally and in the international context. This was epitomised by productive visits to Bangladesh by Mr Fischer in 1997 and myself in 1998.

Australia's trade with Bangladesh has increased substantially in recent years, reflecting also the strong growth in the Bangladesh economy. From 1994 to 1998, Australian exports rose from $121 million to $306 million. During the same period Australian imports from Bangladesh more than doubled.

Bangladesh has been a major recipient of Australian aid and, in 1998-1999, the Australian aid budget to Bangladesh is $36.4 million.

Mr Flynn is an experienced career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. After joining the Department in 1975 he had postings to Suva (1975-78), Vila (1980-81) and as High Commissioner in Honiara (1994-97). He worked in the International Organisations Section of AusAID from 1981-84 and with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, in the Office of Security and Intelligence Coordination (1984-87) and as Executive Officer, Americas and Strategic Issues Section (1987-89). Mr Flynn served as Director, Parliamentary Liaison Section (1991-92) and Director, South Pacific Bilateral Section (1992-94). Until recently he was Director of the Conduct and Ethics Unit.

Mr Flynn was born in Adelaide in 1949 and has a Masters degree from Flinders University.


For further information:  Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville 02 6261 1555

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