Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Diplomatic appointment - Ambassador to Lebanon

8 September 2010

Today I announce the appointment of Mr Lex Bartlem OAM as Australia's Ambassador to Lebanon. Mr Bartlem replaces Ms Jean Dunn, who has been Ambassador since September 2009. He is expected to take up his appointment in October.

Australia and Lebanon share long-standing and warm relations, underpinned by extensive community and cultural links. The hundreds of thousands of people of Lebanese descent in Australia make a very valuable contribution to contemporary Australian society.

This, and the presence of an estimated 20,000 Australians living in Lebanon, underpins the bilateral relationship and the positive profile of Australia in Lebanon.

Lebanon's continued development as an open economy provides opportunities for the growth of trade and commercial relations between Australia and Lebanon. In 2009, total two-way merchandise trade was $48 million. The education, food and beverage and financial services sectors provide particular opportunities for Australian companies.

The Australian Embassy in Beirut was first opened in 1967, the third Australian embassy to be opened in the Middle East. Reflecting Australia's active interest in Lebanon after the civil war, the Australian Embassy in Beirut was re-opened in 1995, and continues to support development and reconstruction in Lebanon today.

Australia is a strong advocate of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, and of efforts to build an enduring peace in the Middle East region.

Mr Bartlem is a senior officer within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently Australia's Consul-General in Bali, a position he has held since February 2009. Mr Bartlem has extensive experience in DFAT. He has previously served in Lebanon as well as Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Spain, Turkey and Venezuela.

Mr Bartlem was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to victims and families following the Bali bombing in 2002.

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