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Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Egypt [Ms Victoria Owen]

I have today announced the appointment of Ms Victoria Owen as Australian Ambassador to Egypt, with non-resident accreditation to the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria and the Republic of the Sudan.

Ms Owen will replace Mr Michael Smith, who has been Ambassador since September 1995.

Australia values its strong relationship with Egypt which reflects a long history of productive political and commercial dealings. Egypt is a substantial buyer of Australian wheat and is a major market for a range of other Australian exports including alumina, coal, sugar, live cattle and dairy products. An important element in the bilateral relationship is the useful dialogue on multilateral issues, particularly in the fields of arms control and disarmament.

Australia appreciates Egypt's leadership and vision which are of special importance in addressing present and emerging challenges in the Middle East region. Australia is providing 26 military personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers located in the Sinai under the terms of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

Ms Owen joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1972. She served in Athens as Second Secretary from 1974-75; in Amman as Charge d'Affaires and later First Secretary from 1982-84; and in Damascus as Ambassador to Syria and Lebanon from 1990-92. Ms Owen's appointments within the Department have included Director, South Pacific Bilateral Section; Director, Multilateral Environment Section; and Director, Market Australia. Ms Owen is currently Director, Middle East Section.

Ms Owen holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Melbourne University and is married with three children.

Ms Owen is expected to take up her appointment in March 1998.


For further information:

Innes Willox, 02 6277 7500