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Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Burma (Myanmar) [Trevor Wilson]

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FA 9 - 10 February 2000

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador To Burma (Myanmar)

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Trevor Wilson as Australian Ambassador to Burma (Myanmar).

Mr Wilson will replace Ms Lyndall McLean AM, who has been Ambassador since April 1997.

Australia shares cordial relations with Burma. The Australian Government would, in the future, wish to have a closer relationship with Burma but this cannot happen without real movement on political reform, including improvements in the human rights situation. We believe it is in Burma's best interests that the Government there resolve its differences with the political opposition and ethnic groups through negotiation and dialogue.

In recent months we have welcomed Burma's response to the Australian Government's initiative for the establishment of an independent human rights institution for Burma. We are prepared to help Burma achieve this goal on the basis that the Burmese Government's approach continues to be constructive.

We have also been encouraged by recent anti-narcotics activities in Burma, in particular the efforts of the Burmese Government since accession to ASEAN in 1997 to enforce its obligations under the international drug treaties. As Burma is the major source of heroin entering Australia, the Australian Government attaches high priority to supporting domestic and international anti-narcotics activities there. To this end, an Australian Federal Police officer will be attached to our Embassy in Rangoon for a trial period.

Since joining the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1967, Mr Wilson has had a number of appointments in that Department as well as working in the Departments of Defence (1978-79) and Prime Minister and Cabinet (1992-95). During 1995-96, he served as Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Wilson's overseas assignments include three postings in Japan (1968-71, 1980-83 and most recently as Deputy Head of Mission in Tokyo from 1996-00) as well as in Laos (1973-76) and the United States (1989-91).

During his career, he has worked on both defence and security affairs as well as on trade and economic affairs. In addition to Japan, his geographic experience in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade covers South-East Asia (as Head of the Indochina Section) and the South Pacific (as Head of the Papua New Guinea Section).

Mr Wilson graduated from the Australian National University with an honours degree in Asian Studies and is married with four children.

Media contacts:  Minister - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500 Department - Matt Francis/Julie McDonald (02) 6261 1555