Australia’s new High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ms Deborah Stokes, arrived in Port Moresby on Monday 18 March. Ms Stokes replaces Mr Ian Kemish, who finished his posting to PNG on 1 March.
Ms Stokes was welcomed to PNG by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chief of Protocol, Mr Jimmy Ovia, DFAT Protocol Director, Ms Barbara Mimino and the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Margaret Adamson.
‘I am delighted to be in PNG at a very exciting time’, Ms Stokes said.
She said she wanted to meet people from all walks of life to gain an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing Papua New Guinea.
Ms Stokes said that Australia and PNG have a very strong bilateral relationship, based on a shared history, strong people-to-people links, and deep trade and economic ties.
‘I look forward to continuing the work of previous High Commissioners in promoting economic cooperation and people-to-people links between our two countries, and in supporting the development goals of the PNG Government’, she said. Ms Stokes said she also looked forward to promoting cooperation between Australia and PNG in regional and multilateral bodies.
Ms Stokes is Australia’s first female High Commissioner to PNG. She said she wanted to work with the growing number of outstanding women leaders in PNG, to identify ways in which Australia could further support the equal participation of women in all sectors of Papua New Guinea society.
Ms Stokes is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was most recently head of the Department’s International Organisations and Legal Division. She has previously served as Australia’s Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, and as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.
Ms Stokes will commence her formal duties after she presents her Letter of Introduction to the Prime Minister, the Hon Peter O’Neill MP, expected to take place shortly.
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