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

Media Release

FA129 - 27 August 2004

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador To Iraq

I have today announced the appointment of Howard Brown as Australia's Ambassador to Iraq.

Mr Brown will replace Neil Mules AO who has been Australia's senior diplomatic representative in Iraq since May 2003 and Ambassador since 29 June 2004 following the historic transfer of authority to the sovereign Iraqi Interim Government. Mr Brown is expected to take up his appointment in October 2004.

Australia is committed to working with the Iraqi Interim Government to build a stable, prosperous and democratic Iraq. Australia has made a significant contribution to Iraq's rehabilitation and humanitarian needs, having committed over $125 million in assistance. This assistance includes $45 million directed towards reconstruction activities focused on the agriculture sector and $25 million for the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq to support efforts to strengthen governance and civil society, provide electoral assistance and support refugees and IDPs. 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.

As a contributor to the Multinational Force in Iraq, Australia is helping to establish a secure environment to facilitate Iraq's political and economic development. Part of Australia's contribution is also directed to the training of Iraq's security forces, which will be vital to Iraq's long-term stability.

Australia is also committed to building comprehensive bilateral ties with Iraq and further developing on our already strong commercial partnership, including through continuing to satisfy the Iraqi preference for high quality Australian wheat. 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 Brown has just completed a four-year assignment as Australia's High Commissioner to Islamabad. Prior to this, he served as Head of Mission in Nicosia, Lagos and Nuku'alofa.

Mr Brown has an arts degree with first class honours from the University of Queensland. He is single.

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

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