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

Media Release

FA41- 7 April 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Burma

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Bob Davis as Australia’s Ambassador to Burma.  Mr Davis replaces Mr Paul Grigson and is expected to take up his appointment in April 2005.

The Government has been active in efforts to promote political reform and greater respect for human rights in Burma.  Our Embassy in Rangoon maintains contact with all parties, including the National League for Democracy, about the importance of substantive political dialogue to achieve genuine national reconciliation. 

A substantial focus of our bilateral relationship is on identifying humanitarian needs in Burma and providing assistance to the most vulnerable through non-government organisations and multilateral organisations.  Some key projects are in health, including HIV/AIDS,  child rights and care for returnees.    

We have constructive relations with Burma  in tackling transnational issues of mutual concern including drug and people trafficking.  As Burma is the source of a significant percentage of illegal drugs seized entering Australia, the Government attaches high priority to supporting anti-narcotics activities and pursues this goal through international cooperation and in conjunction with the relevant authorities in Burma. 

Mr Davis is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently an Assistant Secretary in the International Security Division.  He has served overseas as High Commissioner to Solomon Islands (2001-2003), Counsellor, Seoul (1986-1989), and First Secretary, Tokyo (1978-1981).

In Canberra, Mr Davis has held a range of positions including Head of the DFAT Negotiating Team for the Common Agreement on Services (2000-2001), Director, Consular Operations Section (2000), Head, APEC Meeting of Regional Trade Ministers Taskforce (2000), Director, Year 2000 Portfolio Coordination Group Secretariat (1998-2000), Director, Africa Section (1997-1998), and Director, Papua New Guinea Section (1995‑1996).

Mr Davis has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales; Japanese language studies with the Australian National University and Sophia University, Tokyo; and undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in psychology from Deakin University and the University of Canberra.  He is married, with three daughters.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500 , DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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