AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY IN UKRAINE TO BE EXTENDED FOR FURTHER TWO YEARS
The Australian Government has taken an important decision to extend Australia’s diplomatic presence in Ukraine by retaining the Embassy of Australia in Kyiv for a further two years. This will allow Australian officials to work alongside their Ukrainian partners in close cooperation and further develop bilateral ties between the two countries.
The decision to extend Australia’s diplomatic presence in Ukraine was approved by Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week. Mr Turnbull conveyed the good news directly to H.E. President Petro Poroshenko, during a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 21 September.
The Australian Embassy in Ukraine opened formally on 20 November 2014 for an initial period of 12 months, following the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The Embassy was later extended until September 2016, before this latest decision to retain a resident diplomatic presence.
While the establishment of an Australian Embassy came about in dark circumstances, the tragedy of flight MH17 drew Ukraine and Australia together. The two countries now continue to work closely with other members of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – Belgium, Malaysia and the Netherlands – to help bring those responsible to justice. The Australian Government has welcomed the interim report of the MH17 JIT, released on 28 September, and has called on the international community to continue to support the criminal investigation to ensure justice is achieved independently, fairly and transparently.
The Australian Government stands steadfast in its support for Ukraine, for its territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Australian Government is monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine and has called on all parties to implement the Minsk agreements and observe a permanent ceasefire.
The current Australian Chargé d’Affaires, Mr Bruce Edwards, will extend his present term and continue in this role, pending the anticipated appointment of a new Australian Ambassador.
The Australian Embassy has been presenting a series of performances and masterclasses this week by Australian flautist Ana de la Vega, as part of an ongoing program to celebrate the upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Ukraine. The extension of the Embassy will see this program of events continue well into 2017.