Radar Bali reports that Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer, paid a call on Bali's Governor-elect Made Mangku Pastika on the eve of the latterís inauguration during which Australia pledged continued support in the war on terrorism. Joining Ambassador Farmer on his called on Pastika were the Australian Consular General in Bali, Bruce Cowland.
In addition to continuing their support for anti-terrorism efforts, the Australian officials also promised to extend assistance to the Balinese in the areas of economic development, trade and tourism.
Following the closed-door meeting between the Australian diplomats and Bali's incoming governor, Ambassador Farmer said: "We are optimistic that with the new governor (Pastika) cooperation between us (the Australians) and Bali will become even closer." Prior to the meeting and witnessed by the press, Ambassador Farmer issued congratulations and best wishes to Pastika on his coming inauguration as Bali's Chief Executive.
Following the meeting with Pastika, Farmer said that Australian continue to be targets of criminal acts in Bali and the rest of Indonesia. Because of this, the Australian government hopes that the selection of Bali's former Chief of Police as their next governor means that security in Bali and Indonesia will be improved.
"The problems of tourism and international crime are not only problems in Indonesia, but also in Australia, meaning that we will continue to develop the focus of our cooperation in these areas," the Ambassador explained. "Economic problems also form a part of our focus, because we wish all people will obtain better access to educational resources and health care," he added.
Separately, Farmer acknowledged the significant growth in Australian tourism to Bali, with Australian visitors to Bali in July setting new records. The Australian Ambassador said this proved the recovering of Bali tourism and growing confidence in the Island's security.
Commenting on Farmer's visit, Mangku Pastika said he welcomed the visit by the Australian diplomats that demonstrates the restoration of trust in Bali by foreign nations. Pastika also paid tribute to the significant assistance given to Bali by the people of Australia, including the Bali International Eye Hospital and the International Wing of Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. What's more, according to Pastika, the Australian are offering additional help in the future.
Ambassador Farmer refused requests from the press to comment on the death sentences for the Bali Bombers - Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron dan Amrozi. He said the execution of the convicted bombers was a matter solely for the Indonesians to determine, adding, "that is not our domain; we believe the government of Indonesia will take the right decision."
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