During a visit to the Bali Governor’s Offices, the Irish Ambassador to Indonesia, Pádraig Frances, congratulated Bali on its handling of the pandemic. This is not the first time this week that government representatives have been praised by global leaders for their response to the pandemic.
This week Bali is hosting the Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction on behalf of the United Nations. Government representatives from all over the world have opened their speeches by thanking Bali for hosting the event and sharing their appreciation for the efforts made to keep Balinese people safe and healthy throughout the pandemic.
During the meeting held on Thursday 26th May, Bali Governor Wayan Koster met with Pádraig Frances to discuss the continuation of the relationship between the Bali Provincial Government and the Republic of Ireland. This positive meeting was of great importance in a year when Bali is hosting the G20 Summit.
Ambassador Frances told the press ‘I am happy that many international conferences have gone well. I also believe that Bali can make the G20 Summit a success, especially when more representatives from countries come and see the business potential in Bali”
The ambassador and the governor are reported to have discussed the improvement of student exchange programs through strengthening cultural programs around traditional arts, customs, and sharing of local wisdom.
The conversation also touched on the drinks industry. From coffee to arak, from whiskey to wine, the Balinese and the Irish have a lot in common when it comes to their beverages of choice. The governor invited the ambassador to raise a toast with him for the healthy recovery of the pandemic and the continued strength of the relationship.
They shared a shot of a new drink brand called Balista which is a combination of Bali coffee and Bali-made wine that is brewed with local spices, fruits, and honey. The ambassador is said to have much approved of the drink noting its ‘elegant packaging and delicious taste’.
As is typical in meetings friendly between ambassadors and government representatives this was more of a social visit. Though the two discussed formal relations it was an opportunity for shared pleasantries. Speaking to the press afterward, Ambassador Frances joked about the Irish and Balinese shared affectation for coffee.
“In Ireland, we used to mix coffee with whiskey to make Irish coffee. It’s a fun opportunity to get to know new things like this and it turns out that we have something in common with the Governor of Bali who serves coffee drinks mixed with alcohol’ The governor is said to enjoy a Balinese coffee taken without sugar and topped up with local Balinese traditional arak.
The Irish ambassador will likely visit Governor Koster again in the near future to act upon their verbal agreements around student exchange programs, Ireland’s role in the G20 summit, and perhaps opportunities to introduce Balinese cultural goods like arak and batik fabrics to the market in Ireland.
At the end of the meeting Ambassador Frances was gifted with a bottle of Arak to take home and a hamper of Balinese Endek Woven Fabrics.
Ahead of the G20 summit, Governor Koster will meet with ambassadors and representatives from all of the G20 nations, including Australia, the United States, the UK, and the European Union.
Though these representatives will also meet with the central government to discuss nationwide agreements. Koster will be keen to sit down with international delegates to garner more support for Bali’s post-pandemic economy with a special focus on the tourism sector.
All the nations within the G20 are listed on Indonesia’s visa on arrival programme along with the scrapping of the pre-arrival PCR test for vaccinated travellers the path is becoming ever clearer for travellers to return to Bali.
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