Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Brazil's Lula says Fidel Castro is 'exceptionally well'

Fidel Castro
Health problems forced Fidel Castro to hand over power to his brother

Cuba's ex-leader Fidel Castro is in good shape, Brazil's president has said following what is reported to have been an "emotional meeting".

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Mr Castro, 83, looked "exceptionally well", state-run media reports.

Photographs of the pair show the two friends talking and smiling as they sit around a table.

Mr Castro ruled Cuba for almost half a century before health problems forced him to hand over to his brother Raul.

During President Lula's visit, his last official trip before his term expires, the two discussed topics including last year's global climate change conference in Copenhagen.

"The emotional meeting was an expression of the existing friendship between the two leaders and the brotherhood that unites the two countries," Cuban state media reported.

Rumours that Fidel Castro's health had declined seriously were more frequent when the Brazilian president visited him more than a year ago, in January 2008.

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