Julie Bishop: Today I announce the appointment of Dr Joanne Loundes as Australia’s next Ambassador to Iraq.

Australia is a longstanding partner of the government and people of Iraq. We stood by Iraq in the fight against ISIL, and continue to support it to rebuild durable and lasting stability including through our $100 million humanitarian and stabilisation assistance package which incorporates a focus on helping vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls, and people living with disabilities. Australian Defence Force personnel are training Iraqi Security Forces, with more than 28,500 Iraqi soldiers and law enforcement personnel trained since early 2015.

As Iraq’s security situation improves, we look forward to our trade and investment relationship developing and diversifying. Australia is well-placed to provide high quality goods and services, including from the resources, agriculture and engineering sectors, to the Iraqi market. The significant Iraqi community in Australia is also a strong base on which to strengthen our people-to-people links.

Dr Loundes is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Chief Economist, Trade and Investment, Office of Economic Analysis. In Canberra, she has held a range of positions including Director, G20 Branch and Director, APEC Branch. Overseas, Dr Loundes has served as Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Kabul and First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Tokyo.

Dr Loundes holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Murdoch University.

I thank outgoing Ambassador Christopher Langman for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Iraq since 2015.

Source: Julie Bishop Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au