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

Media Release

29 March 2007

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Serbia

Clare Birgin is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to Serbia with concurrent accreditation to Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Ms Birgin will replace Mr John Oliver who has been Ambassador since April 2003 and is expected to take up her appointment in May 2007.

Australia's relations with Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are based on community ties and commercial links. In particular, migrant communities from these countries have made a significant contribution to Australian society and are helping to shape our future as a nation. Developments in southeast Europe are important to Australia and our bilateral relations are expected to strengthen further as European integration advances.

Australia has been represented in Belgrade since 1967 and has maintained non-resident representation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia since October 1995. Australia established diplomatic relations with the new Republic of Montenegro on 1 September 2006.

Ms Birgin is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Australia’s Ambassador to Hungary, a position she has held since 2004. In her career, Ms Birgin has focused on political and trade relations with the countries of Eastern Europe, the United States and the Middle East, disarmament and multilateral trade issues.

Overseas, Ms Birgin has served in Warsaw, Moscow, Geneva and Washington.

Ms Birgin was born in Sydney. She joined the Department in 1982 after taking an honours degree in arts and a Master's degree in international law from the Australian National University.

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

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