The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
22 June 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Bob Davis as High Commissioner for Australia to the Solomon Islands.  Mr Davis will succeed Dr Martin Sharp, who has been High Commissioner since July 1999.

Australia and Solomon Islands are close neighbours, with constant interaction at various levels.  This has deepened over recent years, in particular since the emergence of ethnic tension and conflict on Guadalcanal.  Australia has been at the forefront of the international community's efforts to support Solomon Islands through this difficult period, not only by providing assistance in the law and order sector but also by supporting the peace process and maintaining existing development assistance commitments.  I have visited Solomon Islands regularly since the outbreak of tension, most recently in December 2000.

In addition to direct bilateral support, Australia funded the Townsville Peace Talks in October 2000 and also mobilised and has largely funded the International Peace Monitoring Team to Solomon Islands.  This has worked in support of the indigenous Peace Monitoring Council since November 2000 to build community confidence and monitor and secure weapons handed in under the Townsville Peace Agreement.

Solomon Islands is also the headquarters of the Forum Fisheries Agency, an important regional organisation which brings together 16 states in the region and has made a considerable contribution to establishing a fisheries regime in the Central and Western Pacific region, safeguarding Pacific Island Countries' interests in regional fish stocks.

Mr Davis is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Assistant Secretary in Corporate Management Division.  He headed the APEC Trade Ministers Taskforce (2000) and has served as Director, Consular Operations Section (2000), Director, Y2K Secretariat (1999), Director, Africa Section (1997-98) and Director, Papua Guinea Section (1995-96).

Born in Sydney in 1947, Mr Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages and Economics from the University of New South Wales.  He completed Japanese language studies with the Australian National University, Canberra and Sophia University, Tokyo, and undergraduate and postgraduate psychology with Deakin University, Geelong and the University of Canberra.  Mr Davis is married with three daughters.

Media Inquiries:
Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500
Lyndall Sachs (Departmental)  02 6261 2912

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