MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA 133

5 December 1999

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the United States of America

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Michael Thawley as Australia's next Ambassador to the United States of America.

Mr Thawley has had a long and distinguished career in foreign affairs, most recently as senior adviser on foreign affairs, trade and defence policy to the Prime Minister.

Mr Thawley replaces The Honourable Andrew Peacock AC, who has been Ambassador since February 1997. He is expected to take up his appointment in February 2000.

Australia's long-standing alliance relationship with the United States is built on a remarkable range of shared interests and objectives, including a strong commitment to democratic and free market values. Both countries derive significant benefits from cooperation on a comprehensive range of issues.

The ANZUS alliance relationship remains a fundamental cornerstone of regional stability and development. Recent developments in the Asia Pacific, including close Australian-US cooperation with other regional countries in INTERFET's successful deployment in East Timor, have demonstrated once again the alliance's value.

The United States is now Australia's second largest trading partner and largest single source of direct investment. These strategic and economic interests are all the stronger because of the political and social values and aspirations our societies share.

Mr Thawley joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1972, and has served overseas in Rome, Moscow and Tokyo. In Canberra, apart from occupying a number of positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he has worked in the Office of National Assessments and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Since April 1996, he has served in the Prime Minister's Office.

Mr Thawley is a graduate from the Australian National University. He was born in 1950 and is married with three children.


Media Enquiries: Ministerial - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Departmental - Matt Francis (02) 6261 1555

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