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Australia announces next ambassador to Lebanon

Written By vibykhmer on Monday, August 24, 2009 | 1:23 AM

CANBERRA, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Diplomat Jean Dunn will be Australia's next ambassador to Lebanon, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith announced Monday.

Smith said Dunn would replace Lyndall Sachs who had served as ambassador in Beirut since March 2006, Australian Associated Press reports.

Smith said Dunn was most recently assistant secretary in the agriculture and food branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In that position she conducted Australia's World Trade Organisation agriculture negotiations. Before that she was ambassador to Turkey and had also served overseas in Seoul, Washington and Geneva.

Smith said Australia and Lebanon shared a close and long-standing relationship, underpinned by extensive community links.

He said there were an estimated 250,000 people of Lebanese background living in Australia, making a deep and vibrant contribution to Australian society.

Another 20,000 Australians live in Lebanon.

"Lebanon's continued development into an open and service-oriented economy provides opportunities for trade and commercial relations between Australia and Lebanon to grow," he said.

In 2008, total two-way merchandise trade amounted to 41 million dollars (34 million US dollars). Current opportunities for Australian companies are primarily focused on the education, food and beverage sectors.

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