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Laos: special envoy.

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media Release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

30 April 2001

Laos - Special Envoy

I am today sending Mr John McCarthy AO to Laos as my Special Envoy. 

Mr McCarthy will have a series of discussions with senior Lao figures, including Foreign Minister Mr Somsavat Lengsavad, about the longstanding relationship between Australia and Laos.

Mr McCarthy will be raising the case of Kerry and Kay Danes in the course of his discussions.  I have been concerned for the welfare of the Danes, who have been detained since 23 December last year without a clear case being made against them. The case is having a disruptive effect on Australia's relations with Laos, which have always been cooperative and friendly.

Mr McCarthy is a very senior officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with significant expertise in South East Asia.  He served in Laos early in his career and has been Ambassador to a number of countries including the United States, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.  He will commence as Ambassador to Japan in July 2001.

For further information:   (Ministerial)  Matt Francis  (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890 (Departmental) Julie McDonald (02) 6261 1555 or 0417 219 785


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