20 November 2009
Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Sweden
Today I announce the appointment of Mr Paul Stephens as Australia's Ambassador to Sweden with concurrent accreditation to Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. Mr Stephens replaces Mr Howard Brown who has been Ambassador since March 2007. He is expected to take up his appointment later this month.
Australia and Sweden have a positive bilateral relationship and share a strong commitment to multilateralism. We work cooperatively in a variety of international forums to address global challenges, including nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, counter terrorism, human rights, climate change and trade liberalisation.
Australia and Sweden each have a proud record of contribution to UN peacekeeping operations around the globe. Both nations are engaged in international stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan as non-NATO contributors to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Australia and Sweden enjoy strong trade and investment links. Australia’s total goods and services trade with Sweden was worth $3.7 billion in 2008. Swedish investment in Australia was worth $3.0 billion as at 31 December 2008, and Australian investment in Sweden was worth $2.1 billion.
Sweden, as the current European Union (EU) Presidency (July–December 2009), hosted the Australia-EU Ministerial-level consultations in October, which I attended.
An important outcome of these consultations was a shared agreement to further strengthen cooperation under the updated Australia–EU Partnership Framework which was launched at the consultations. Strengthening this cooperation is an important Australian objective in our relations with Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Australia also enjoys warm bilateral relations with Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based on shared values, a commitment to multilateralism, and our contributions to security and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan through ISAF.
Migrants from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have contributed to Australia’s social, economic and cultural development, and Australia shares strong community ties with these four countries. I look forward to further building trade and investment relationships with all these countries.
Mr Stephens is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch, a position he has held since 2008. Mr Stephens has extensive experience within the Department and has previously served overseas in Brasilia and in Australia’s Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Mr Stephens holds a Masters degree in International Relations from Deakin University, a Graduate Diploma in Communications from the University of Canberra and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. Mr Stephens is married with three children.
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