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Media release

30 April 2008

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Russia

I have confirmed the appointment of Margaret Twomey as Australia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Ms Twomey will replace Mr Bob Tyson, who has been Ambassador since April 2005. She is expected to take up her position in June 2008.

Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a member of the G8 group of leading industrialised nations. It plays an active and influential role in the global agenda. Australia and Russia cooperate on international security challenges such as counter-terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russia's participation in Asia-Pacific forums such as APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum has further broadened the scope for cooperation between our countries. Australia welcomes Russia’s hosting of APEC 2012.

Russia is a major exporter of energy and other natural resources. In recent years its rapid economic growth has opened up trade and investment opportunities for Australia. Two-way merchandise trade has quadrupled in the last four years and bilateral investment has grown even more rapidly. This trend is expected to continue once Russia’s WTO accession is complete.

Australia’s relations with Russia are underpinned by strong people-to-people links. The Russian community in Australia, which numbers around 67,000, has made a significant contribution to Australia in the field of sport, business, culture and politics.

Ms Twomey is an experienced career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Australia’s Ambassador to East Timor (2004-08), where she served with distinction during a challenging period.

Ms Twomey has also served overseas as Deputy High Commissioner in Suva (2000-02), First Secretary and Counsellor in London (1995-2000) and Third, later Second Secretary in Belgrade (1990-92).

In Canberra, Ms Twomey has held a range of positions including Assistant Secretary, Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch (2002-04), Executive Officer, Strategic Assessments Branch (1994-95) and Desk Officer, East Europe Section (1988-89). From 1992 until 1994, Ms Twomey was an analyst in the Office of National Assessments.

Born in 1963, Ms Twomey has an honours degree in Arts (Russian and French) from the University of Melbourne and speaks Russian.

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