Australia will continue to support Sri Lanka

Julie BishopAustralia will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes progress on national reconciliation, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

She said this as she announced the appointment of Bryce Hutchesson as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Hutchesson will also have non-resident accreditation to the Maldives.

Bishop said said that Australia has a close and long-standing bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka, underpinned by growing trade and investment ties and extensive people-to-people links. Two-way trade in 2014 was $830 million and Australia is home to a 130,000-strong Sri Lankan community.

“Our relationship encompasses development cooperation, education and close collaboration on countering people smuggling and transnational crime. Australia and Sri Lanka work productively together to address shared regional and global challenges, including in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Commonwealth. Australia will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes progress on national reconciliation,” she said.

She also said that Australia and the Maldives have a positive relationship, built on trade and investment, particularly in the tourism sector, and a shared history in the Commonwealth.

Hutchesson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Until recently he was acting First Assistant Secretary of the South and West Asia Division.

Hutchesson has served overseas as Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, with earlier postings in Bangkok and Tel Aviv. He has also served in Washington with the Office of National Assessments.

In Canberra, Hutchesson has led DFAT’s South Asia Branch, Executive, Planning and Evaluation
Branch and several branches responsible for international security.

Hutchesson holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.
Hutchesson is expected to take up his appointment in early February 2016. (Colombo Gazette)

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