New Australian ambassador to Israel
Chris Cannan has been appointed as Australia’s next Ambassador to Israel.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: “Australia and Israel’s warm relationship is underpinned by shared values, a mutual commitment to democracy, and common interests in a stable Middle East. We also enjoy a strong trading relationship, with two-way trade between our countries worth $1.3 billion in 2015-16.
Our commercial relationship continues to flourish through the opening of the Australian innovation ‘Landing Pad’ in Tel Aviv, the conclusion of an air services agreement and an industrial research and development cooperation agreement, and the negotiation of a double taxation agreement. During Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Australia in February 2017, we agreed to increase cooperation in sectors including cyber, innovation, science and technology.
Mr Cannan is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Global Development Branch. In Canberra, Mr Cannan has held a range of positions in DFAT, including Chief of Protocol, and Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch, Environment Branch, and Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch. He served overseas with DFAT in Vienna and Manila, and with the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group, as well as with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in Geneva.
Mr Cannan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from the University of South Australia, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Asian Studies from Flinders University and a Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from Monash University.
I thank outgoing Ambassador Dave Sharma for his outstanding contribution to advancing the Australia-Israel relationship since 2013.”
Dave Sharma was appointed by the then foreign minister Bob Carr in 2013.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has issued a statement saying: “We also wish to extend our deepest appreciation to the outgoing ambassador, Dave Sharma, who has served Australia with great distinction. The Australia-Israel relationship has been enriched by a long line of wonderful ambassadors to Israel but it is difficult to recall someone with the passion, energy, warmth and deep insight of Ambassador Sharma. He will long be remembered with affection in Israel and in the Australian Jewish community for his tireless and successful efforts to broaden and deepen the bonds between Australia and Israel.
Those of us at the ECAJ who have had the pleasure of working with Ambassador Sharma over the last 4 years have greatly appreciated his wonderful courtesy and co-operation. He will be sorely missed.
We look forward to working with Mr Cannan and his team and offering our support in any way necessary to help advance the interests of Australia and the Australia-Israel relationship for the benefit of both nations.”
Chris Cannan is expected to take up his duties in June.