Paul Foley: Ambassador To East Timor

Paul Foley, a career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has been appointed Australia’s first Ambassador to East Timor.

The appointment was announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

Text of media release by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

FoleyI have today announced the appointment of Paul Foley as Australian Ambassador to East Timor.

East Timor’s independence ceremonies on 20 May 2002 were a moving celebration of East Timor’s entry into the community of nations. I was delighted to be present with the Prime Minister and a broad delegation of Australians to witness the birth of a nation.

On 20 May I signed with East Timor’s Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, a Joint Communique to mark the formal start of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I announced then the appointment of James Batley as Australia’s first Ambassador to East Timor, an appointment which closed the circle on Mr Batley’s three years as Australia’s representative in Dili. Our new Ambassador will play a central role in fostering the strong ties of friendship between Australia and East Timor and in developing new partnerships, including business and community links, which will deepen our already rich and varied relationship.

For the immediate future, the United Nations will remain in East Timor, under the United Nations Mission of Support. Australia will continue to play a key role in the post-independence UN Peacekeeping Force, in line with our substantial earlier commitments to INTERFET and to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). As a close neighbour and good friend, Australia will continue to be a strong advocate of East Timor in international forums and to do what we can to assist the new nation’s integration into global and regional communities. Our significant aid program of $150 million over four years from 2000-2001 – focused on governance, education, health, water supply and sanitation and rural development – has already made a substantial contribution to readying the people of East Timor for the challenges of independence.

Mr Foley is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His positions in Canberra have included Assistant Secretary, Information Management Branch; Assistant Secretary, Y2K Taskforce; Director, Evaluation and Audit Section; and Director, Parliamentary Liaison and Freedom of Information Section. Overseas, Mr Foley has served as First Secretary and Counsellor in Riyadh and Third and Second Secretary in Kingston.

Educated at Monash University, Mr Foley holds a Bachelor of Economics degree with honours. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Studies from the Joint Services Staff College.

Mr Foley will take up his position as Ambassador to East Timor in June 2002.

The people of East Timor will face many challenges as they take up the vital work of building strong and democratic institutions, establishing productive regional and international relations and putting in place the framework for a prosperous future. East Timor will not face these challenges alone. Australia is committed to helping East Timor reach its full potential as a peaceful and independent nation.

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