I have today announced the appointment of Paul Foley as Australian
Ambassador to East Timor.
East Timor's independence ceremonies on 20 May 2002 were a moving
celebration of East Timor's entry into the community of nations. I was delighted to be present with the Prime Minister and a broad
delegation of Australians to witness the birth of a nation.
On 20 May I signed with East Timor's Senior Minister for Foreign
Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, a Joint Communique
to mark the formal start of diplomatic relations between our two
countries. I announced then the appointment of James Batley as
Australia's first Ambassador to East Timor, an appointment which
closed the circle on Mr Batley's three years as Australia's representative
in Dili. Our new Ambassador will play a central role in fostering
the strong ties of friendship between Australia and East Timor and
in developing new partnerships, including business and community
links, which will deepen our already rich and varied relationship.
For the immediate future, the United Nations will remain in East
Timor, under the United Nations Mission of Support. Australia will
continue to play a key role in the post-independence UN Peacekeeping
Force, in line with our substantial earlier commitments to INTERFET
and to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
(UNTAET). As a close neighbour and good friend, Australia will
continue to be a strong advocate of East Timor in international
forums and to do what we can to assist the new nation's integration
into global and regional communities. Our significant aid program
of $150 million over four years from 2000-2001 - focused on governance,
education, health, water supply and sanitation and rural development
- has already made a substantial contribution to readying the people
of East Timor for the challenges of independence.
Mr Foley is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade. His positions in Canberra have included Assistant
Secretary, Information Management Branch; Assistant Secretary, Y2K
Taskforce; Director, Evaluation and Audit Section; and Director,
Parliamentary Liaison and Freedom of Information Section. Overseas,
Mr Foley has served as First Secretary and Counsellor in Riyadh
and Third and Second Secretary in Kingston.
Educated at Monash University, Mr Foley holds a Bachelor of Economics
degree with honours. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Strategic
Studies from the Joint Services Staff College.
Mr Foley will take up his position as Ambassador to East Timor
in June 2002.
The people of East Timor will face many challenges as they take
up the vital work of building strong and democratic institutions,
establishing productive regional and international relations and
putting in place the framework for a prosperous future. East Timor
will not face these challenges alone. Australia is committed to
helping East Timor reach its full potential as a peaceful and independent
Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / Julie
McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555