Today I announce the appointment of Mr Neil Hawkins as Australia’s Ambassador to Egypt with concurrent accreditation to Sudan and Eritrea.
Australia values its long-standing relationship with Egypt, built on shared interests and strong people-to-people links. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1950 when Australia opened its first Embassy in Cairo.
Australia engages with Egypt on shared regional and international priorities, including counter-terrorism and disarmament. As part of our commitment to assisting peace efforts across the region, we provide Australian Defence Force personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) to supervise the implementation of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in the Sinai.
Egypt is an important market for Australian agricultural and other exports, with significant potential for further growth.
Mr Hawkins is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and most recently served as Australia’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. In Canberra he headed the Department’s Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch and the Middle East Branch. Mr Hawkins was a Senior Analyst with the Office of National Assessments, and was previously an AusAID Director working on Papua New Guinea and humanitarian and emergency responses. Mr Hawkins has also worked for CARE Australia, the United Nations and the Norwegian Institute for International Research in South East Asia and the Middle East.
Mr Hawkins holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours) in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Master of International Business. He was awarded a Humanitarian Overseas medal in 2004 and speaks Arabic.
Mr Hawkins is expected to take up his appointment during March 2015. I thank outgoing Ambassador Ralph King for his work in strengthening Australia’s relations with Egypt since 2012 including his substantial contribution to the Government’s efforts to secure the release of Peter Greste.
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