Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Israel
I have today announced the appointment of
Dr Richard William Rigby as Australian Ambassador to the State
Dr Rigby replaces Ian Wilcock who has been
Ambassador since May 1997.
Australia has a long history of friendship
with Israel, based on extensive people-to-people links, shared
political and social values and deep historical connections.
The Government is committed to maintaining and broadening this
friendship, including by continuing our strong support for Israel
in the international arena.
Australia's trade relationship with Israel
has grown solidly in recent years, passing half a billion dollars
for the first time in 1998. We look forward to heightened bilateral
cooperation, especially in high technology industries associated
with telecommunications, information technology, agriculture
and biotechnology. The past two years have seen an unprecedented
number of business delegations in both directions and we look
forward to a continuation of that trend. The Government will
continue to promote Australia as an attractive destination for
investment and as a competitive centre for regional business
headquarters for Israeli companies.
Australia is fundamentally committed to Israel's
right to live in peace and security with its neighbours. It has
welcomed the resumption of progress towards the negotiation of
a just, enduring and comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle
East, based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425,
the principle of land for peace and the Oslo Declaration of Principles
concluded between Israel and the Palestinian Liberalisation Organisation
Dr Rigby will also have responsibility for
the conduct of Australia's relations with the Palestinian Authority.
Dr Rigby is a senior career officer with the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He joined the Department
in 1975 and subsequently served as Third and Second Secretary
in Tokyo (1976-80) and as First Secretary in Beijing (1981-84).
In 1985 Dr Rigby was Acting Deputy Chief, Current Intelligence,
ONA and then served in London as First Secretary (1985-1988).
Returning to DFAT in 1988, Dr Rigby served as Counsellor in Beijing
(1989-91). From 1991 to 1993 he was Director, Indochina Section
and was then promoted to Assistant Secretary, South/Southeast
Asia Branch in 1993. Dr Rigby served as Consul General in Shanghai
(1994-98). He is currently Assistant Secretary, North East Asia
Dr Rigby was born in Melbourne in 1948 and
has a PhD in Far Eastern History and an Honours degree in History
from the Australian National University. He is married with three