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Julie Bishop’s important new role on the international stage

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Julie Bishop's important new role on the international stage



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Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been named United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special envoy for Myanmar.

Bishop, who is now chancellor of the Australian National University, will fill the role, which has been left vacant since the departure of Singaporean diplomat Noeleen Heyzer last June.

The UN said in a statement that Ms Bishop had “extensive political, legal and senior management experience”.

“Throughout her career, Ms. Bishop has strengthened engagement with regional partners and led international negotiation efforts, including the first conciliation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong welcomed the news on Saturday morning.

“Ms Bishop brings a wealth of experience to the role and her appointment comes at a critical time as the political, humanitarian and security situation in Myanmar continues to worsen,” he said.

“The people of Myanmar continue to demonstrate great determination in the face of unspeakable violence and human rights abuses, and Australia remains steadfast in our support for them.”

Senator Wong said the special envoy played a vital role in maintaining international attention and supporting coordinated efforts towards a peaceful resolution in the troubled Southeast Asian nation.

Australia will work closely with Ms Bishop, ASEAN and the international community to create the conditions for sustainable peace, he said.

Senator Wong also reiterated the government’s call for the Myanmar regime to “cease violence against civilians, release those unjustly detained, allow safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, and return Myanmar to the path of inclusive democracy.” “.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the military took power from Aung Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, 2021.

The country is locked in a civil war between the military on the one hand and, on the other, a loose alliance of ethnic minority rebels and an armed resistance generated by the junta’s crackdown on anti-coup protests.

Bishop was Australia’s foreign minister from 2013 to 2018 under Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

He became chancellor of the ANU in January 2020.

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