Today I announce the appointment of Mr Ridwaan Jadwat as Australia's next Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, with non-resident accreditation to Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.

Australia's relationship with Saudi Arabia is built on strong commercial ties, shared regional security interes ts and engagement in international groupings, including the G20 where I was delighted to meet with my counterpart, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Abdel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Argentina.

Saudi Arabia is Australia's second-largest trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way goods and services trade reaching almost $2.39 billion in 2016–17. Saudi investment in Australia was worth $3.9 billion in 2016.

People-to-people links between our two countries continue to grow. Saudi students have chosen Australia as a great destination to study, with more than 6,500 enrolled in Australian educational institutions in 2017.

Mr Jadwat is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and was most recently on secondment as Assistant Secretary and Head of Policy, ASEAN-Australia Summit 2018 Taskforce, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C). He has previously served overseas as Counsellor, Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur; and Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Tehran. In Canberra, he has served as Assistant Secretary, South and Southeast Asia, Americas and Middle East Branch, PM&C; and Director, ASEAN and EAS Section, DFAT.

Mr Jadwat holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences) from the University of Sydney.

I thank outgoing Ambassador Ralph King for his contributions to advancing Australia's interests in Saudi Arabia since 2015.

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