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Media Release

FA49 - 22 April 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Poland

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Ian Forsyth as Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Poland. He will replace Mr Patrick Lawless who has been Ambassador since September 2002. Mr Forsyth is expected to take up his appointment in June 2005.

Relations between Australia and Poland have continued to strengthen in recent years. Poland is a close and like-minded ally on many key international issues facing us today. Australia and Poland also enjoy strong and vibrant community ties, with an estimated 150,000 people of Polish ancestry living in Australia. Polish Australians have historically made valuable contributions to Australia's cultural landscape and continue to play very positive roles in our political, social and economic development.

Poland's accession to the European Union, on 1 May 2004, underpins growing opportunities in our commercial relationship. Total two-way trade exceeded AUD 100 million in 2003-04 and showed a very healthy increase from the previous year.

Poland's location at the heart of Europe, and its membership of NATO, give it strategic importance for Australia. Cooperation and dialogue between Australia and Poland on issues of global concern continues to expand, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation.

Mr Forsyth is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and most recently served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris (2001-2004). Prior to this he was Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey (1998-2001). He has also served overseas as Commercial Counsellor in Washington (1984-1987) and worked in the OECD Secretariat in Paris (1975-1977).

In Canberra, Mr Forsyth has served as Assistant Secretary, Environment Branch (1997), Assistant Secretary, West Europe Branch (1992-1996), Assistant Secretary, Trade and Competitiveness Branch (1989-1992), Director, Trade in Services Section (1988-1989), Director, Middle East and North Africa Section (1984) and Director, GATT Section (1980-1983).

Mr Forsyth holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia. He is married with three children.

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

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