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Media release

16 June 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Iraq

Mr Robert Tyson is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to Iraq and is expected to take up his appointment in August 2008 succeeding Marc Innes-Brown who has been Ambassador since August 2006.

Australia looks forward to building a relationship with Iraq anchored in economic cooperation, the substantial people-to-people links in our communities, and enduring support for Iraq’s renewal as a peaceful and prosperous country.

Australia is committed to working with the Iraqi government to consolidate democracy and build security and prosperity. Australia has increased its development assistance to Iraq, committing $165 million over three years for humanitarian aid and capacity building, including programs to strengthen the agricultural sector and improve governance.

Mr Tyson is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Australia’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Prior to this, he served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. His other overseas positions have included Minister, Congressional Liaison, in Washington DC (1993-97), Consul-General in Honolulu (1989-93), Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow (1984-87), First Secretary in Bangkok (1976-79) and as Third/Second Secretary in Wellington (1972‑75). In Canberra, Mr Tyson held the positions of Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Policy Branch (1999-2000), Assistant Secretary, Passports Branch (1997-99), and Director of Foreign Service Training (1979-80).

Mr Tyson has also worked for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as Senior Adviser, North America and Defence Branch (1987-89), and has held positions with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in Melbourne (1980-83) including as Head of the International Division, Director of the Cabinet Unit and Principal Adviser, Inter-governmental Relations.

Educated at the Australian National University, Mr Tyson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in History and Political Science. He is married with two children. Mr Tyson speaks Arabic and Russian.

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