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Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Sri Lanka



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M E D IA RELEASE J f c

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ALEXANDER DOW NER

FA133 26 October 1998

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: HIGH COMMISSIONER TO SRI LANKA

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Peter Rowe as Australian High Commissioner to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka with non-resident accreditation to the Republic of Maldives.

Mr Rowe will replace Mr David Ritchie, who has been High Commissioner since July 1996.

The close bonds of friendship between Australia and Sri Lanka are fortified by our common membership in the Commonwealth and the firm people-to-people ties generated by the 50 000-strong Sri Lankan community in Australia.

Australia is one of the largest foreign investors in Sri Lanka and two-way trade has more than doubled in the past four years to total $254 million in 1997-98. Australia’s principal exports to Sri Lanka are milk products and cream, wheat, fresh vegetables, animal oils and fats, sugar and clothing accessories. Tea and garments make up most of Australia’s imports from Sri Lanka and Australia’s commercial relationship with Sri Lanka should continue to grow. We share a common interest with Sri Lanka in strengthening aspirations for closer cooperation among the countries of the Indian Ocean region. Australia is also a leading destination for Sri Lankan students wishing to study overseas.

Australia has a cooperative and friendly relationship with the Maldives, and we share views on many issues of regional and international interest. As is the case with Sri Lanka, Australia is a popular destination for Maldivian students studying overseas, and the number of Maldivian graduates of Australian educational institutions is a strong link between our two countries.

Mr Rowe has served overseas in Beijing (1976-77 and 1978-81), Hong Kong (1977-78), Wellington (1981-82) and Seoul (1983-86). He worked in the Office of National Assessment from 1986 to 1990, with responsibility for Korea and China and subsequently as acting head of the Asia branch. Mr Rowe was Director of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Affairs in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1991 to 1992, and Director, China and Mongolia Section, 1992-95. Mr Rowe has held the position of Minister in the Australian Embassy in Seoul since 1995. Mr Rowe is single and was bom in 1950.

Mr Rowe is expected to take up his appointment in January 1999.

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