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

Media Release

FA089 - 8 August 2006

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Israel

I have today announced the appointment of James Larsen as Australia's Ambassador to the State of Israel. Mr Larsen will replace Tim George who has been Ambassador since September 2003. He is expected to take up his appointment in August 2006.

Australia is a longstanding friend of Israel and was one of the first countries to recognise the State of Israel in 1949 and to establish diplomatic relations. Our close relationship has been underpinned by Australia's strong political sympathy with Israel and our fundamental commitment to its right to live in peace within secure and recognised borders. Australia remains committed to a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on agreement between the two parties.

Australia is proud of its active Jewish community - a community which has made a significant contribution to Australian society and has given real depth and understanding to the bilateral relationship. The commercial relationship has strong potential to develop further, supported by the active business communities in both countries. As two sophisticated economies, there are good opportunities for further trade in ideas and new technologies between Australia and Israel.

Mr Larsen was most recently Legal Adviser and Assistant Secretary, Legal Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a position he held since November 2004. Prior to this he was Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Brussels (2001-04). Other positions held by Mr Larsen include Director, Administrative and Domestic Law Group (1998-2000) and Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, Bangkok (1994-97). Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Graduate Trainee in 1992, Mr Larsen worked as a solicitor with Minter Ellison (1988-91).

Mr Larsen was born in Geelong in 1965. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne. He is married and has three children.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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