The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA94 - 29 June 2004

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Iraq

I have today announced the appointment of Neil Mules AO as Australia's Ambassador to Iraq. Mr Mules has served with distinction as the Head of the Australian Representative Office in Baghdad since May 2003. He assumes his position as Australia's Ambassador following the historic transfer of full authority to the sovereign Iraqi Interim Government on 28 June.

Australia is committed to working with the Iraqi Interim Government to build a stable, prosperous and democratic Iraq. Australian troops will continue to help Iraq develop its security forces and Australian technical advisers will continue to play an important role in advising the new government in areas such as agriculture, donor coordination, the electricity sector and security policy.

Australia is also committed to building comprehensive bilateral ties with Iraq. We look forward to a strong commercial relationship, including a continuing presence in the Iraqi wheat market. Australia supported Iraq's successful bid for observer status in the World Trade Organisation and will continue to assist Iraq as it seeks to rejoin the global economy. Australian companies are actively engaged in Iraq's reconstruction, including in the oil sector.

Mr Mules is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Since joining the Department in 1980, he has served as Deputy Ambassador in Jakarta (2002-03), Counsellor in Hanoi (1996-98) and Counsellor in Jakarta (1992-95) with earlier postings in Harare, Ankara and Brasilia.

In Canberra he was First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security, Property and Information Management Division (2001-02); Assistant Secretary, Maritime South East Asia Branch (1998-2001); Director, Conditions of Service Section (1991-92); and Desk Officer, Refugees, Immigration and Asylum Section (1984-85).

Mr Mules has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia. In recognition of the contribution he has made to advancing Australia's interests in Iraq, he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia on 24 April 2004.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 - Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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