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Media release

24 July 2008

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to ASEAN

I am pleased to announce that Australia will appoint its first Ambassador to ASEAN – the Association of South East Asian Nations.

The decision to appoint an Ambassador to ASEAN underscores the importance Australia attaches to ASEAN and our desire to extend Australia's engagement and cooperation with ASEAN and its member nations.

Australia has long-standing and productive links with ASEAN. In 1974, Australia became ASEAN's first dialogue partner. Since then we have invested considerable effort in building a partnership that spans people-to-people links, development cooperation, economic and trade links and defence and security matters.

Our extensive coordination on these and other issues will be significantly increased through the appointment of an Ambassador to ASEAN.

Australia's Ambassador to ASEAN will be a senior Canberra based officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Ambassador will regularly attend meetings at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta and other ASEAN meetings elsewhere as appropriate. Further details of the appointment will be announced in the near future.

The ability to appoint an Ambassador to ASEAN is one element of the new ASEAN Charter, expected to be ratified by the end of this year.

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