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AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION
17 May 2012
Australian High Commissioner - Farewell to Pakistan
Australian High Commissioner Mr Tim George, whose three-year term comes to an end shortly, said he was privileged to serve as High Commissioner during a period of strong growth in Australia’s relationship with Pakistan.
Mr George said “I particularly welcome the deepening of our engagement, which is based on a productive, friendly and mutually beneficial partnership. Areas I would highlight include development cooperation, defence cooperation, collaboration in tackling transnational crime, education and other people-to-people links, and closer collaboration in the trade and investment sphere. We see Pakistan as a valuable long-term partner. We also wish to support Pakistan in facing its significant challenges.”
Mr George said he was very pleased at the expansion of high-level links and dialogue between our two countries. He welcomed the Pakistan’s valuable participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in 2011, the revival of Senior Officials Talks between Foreign Ministries and of the Joint Trade Committee, and good progress towards cementing much closer Parliamentary ties.
Australia’s development assistance to Pakistan has expanded significantly in recent years, to an estimated A$96 million in 2012-13. The signing of the Australia Pakistan Development Partnership (APDP) was an important milestone, providing a positive framework for our long term bilateral development cooperation. Australia has also been a major contributor of humanitarian assistance in time of crisis.
Cooperation between Australia and Pakistan in combating terrorism and transnational organised crime has expanded substantially. A landmark development has been the establishment in 2010 of the high-level Pakistan-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Border Management and Transnational Crime, which meets annually. Mr George said he appreciated deeply Pakistan’s excellent cooperation on these issues.
Defence cooperation has also grown strongly with an emphasis on mutually-beneficial training programs, and the regular high level Strategic Dialogue, and, since 2010, the highly successful 1.5 Track Security Talks.
Mr George said there was much scope to boost links in the field of trade, investment, and joint ventures. “Both countries have much to offer each other. Pakistan, with its large and talented population and its many resources, has great potential. Australia is the thirteenth largest economy globally, has strong economic fundamentals, and is a major Asia Pacific player with a diverse, multicultural society”.
Mr George noted that, based on its strong international credentials, Australia is a candidate for the United Nations Security Council for 2013/2014. “If successful, we look forward to working with Pakistan and other friends in this important forum”.
Mr George said he and wife Geraldine extended their warm thanks to the countless people who, whether officially or privately, have so generously extended assistance, hospitality and friendship, in the manner for which Pakistan is justly famous.
Contact: Melissa Kelly, 051 8355346