Diplomatic appointment - Ambassador to Egypt

Media release

New York

13 December 2011

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today announced that Dr Ralph King will be Australia's next Ambassador to Egypt.

Dr King is expected to take up his appointment in January 2012, and will replace Ms Stephanie Shwabsky who has been Ambassador since June 2008.

Australia's long-standing and positive relations with Egypt are based on strong people-to-people links and warm and constructive diplomatic and political relations. Diplomatic relations between Australia and Egypt were established over 60 years ago.

Egypt is an active and influential partner in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. Australia has worked constructively with Egypt on the dramatic political developments in north Africa in 2011.

As a long-standing friend, Australia will continue to work closely with Egypt to further enhance bilateral relations and explore ways to support Egypt's political, economic and social transition.

Australia engages closely with Egypt on a range of shared multilateral priorities, including counter-terrorism and disarmament. Australia is committed to assisting with peace efforts across the region and continues to provide Australian Defence Force personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers to supervise the implementation of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in the Sinai.

Egypt is a substantial market for Australian wheat and is an important destination for a range of other Australian exports. Two-way trade with Egypt for 2010-2011 totalled $633 million.

Dr King is a career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was until recently Director, Afghanistan Domestic Section, a position he held since July 2010. Overseas, Dr King served as Australian Ambassador to Kuwait from 2004 until 2007 and Deputy Head of Mission in Hanoi from 2002 until 2004, with earlier postings to Beirut and Damascus. Prior to joining the Department, Dr King was Middle East Analyst at the Office of National Assessments.

Dr King holds a BA (Hons) degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Melbourne, an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford and a PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University. He and his wife Jennifer have two children. He speaks Arabic.

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