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France loves Brazil says Macron after Lula meeting

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and French President Emmanuel Macron
People have compared photos of the two presidents taken during Mr Macron's visit to Brazil to wedding photos [Reuters]

Diplomatic visits by world leaders are normally stately affairs, featuring formal handshakes and news conferences.

But photos of French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian counterpart Inacio Lula da Silva during his recent visit have put some more in mind of a romantic getaway.

Social media users compared the images to wedding photos.

"It was a wedding," joked Mr Macron in response. "France loves Brazil and Brazil loves France!"

Mr Macron spent a whirlwind three days in the country this week - visiting the Amazon, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.

It was during a trip to the Amazon rainforest that Mr Macron and Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were photographed clutching hands and laughing.

"They are going to marry in the Amazon and have their honeymoon in Paris," one person quipped online about the images, which have been turned into light-hearted memes.

In one of the edited images, red heart balloons have been added to the men's hands.

In another, which Mr Macron shared, the two men are shown walking hand-in-hand superimposed over a film poster for the 2016 romantic musical La La Land.

The French leader has used the response to his interactions to President Lula to highlight the strength of his country's relationship with Brazil.

"We have just opened a new chapter in our relationship!" he said.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva shakes hands with France's President Emmanuel Macron
Mr Macron paid a three-day visit to Brazil, visiting several places including the Amazon rainforest [Reuters]

Among the policy announcements made during the trip was a new €1bn (£854m; $1bn) investment plan to help protect the Amazon rainforest.

Lula was similarly enthused about the meeting, writing on X about how "among the traditional powers, none is closer to Brazil than France".

He announced that he had given his French counterpart "five of the best and most awarded Brazilian cheeses", as well as some sparkling wine.

"I think he'll like it," Lula wrote on X, accompanied by a cheese emoji.

Lula also outlined the key discussion points between himself and Mr Macron - including new investment opportunities in Brazil's hotel, energy, defence and technology sectors.

However, there are some issues the pair do not see completely eye-to-eye on - including Ukraine.

While France and other Western countries support Kyiv in its conflict with Russia, President Lula has refused to condemn Russia - saying both sides share responsibility for the war.

French President Emmanuel Macron reacts next to Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Both leaders have been keen to stress the strength of French and Brazilian relations [Reuters]

The blooming "bromance" between Mr Macron and Lula is in stark contrast to the frosty relationship the French leader had with Lula's predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

However, it is by no means the first time this title has been given to a relationship the French leader has developed with one of his counterparts.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's visit to France last year saw him photographed with Mr Macron sharing smiles and an umbrella.

Mr Macron also developed what was considered an unlikely rapport with former US president Donald Trump in 2018.

It is also not the first time photographs of Mr Macron have caused controversy.

Earlier this month, images of him hitting a punching bag that were released by his office drew a mixture of praise and criticism.