President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva practiced a little soccer diplomacy Wednesday, talking about key issues to the Americas including the continuing situation in Honduras, energy and climate change and Iran.
"The President believes that Brazil can be a close strategic partner with the United States," White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs told a small group of reporters. "There are a number of issues of mutual national -- national interest that the President believes Brazil -- the United States and Brazil can and should cooperate on."
Brazil and Iran have close trade ties, prompting Obama to reportedly push Lula to in turn push Iran to stop any sort nuclear production.
"Obviously the relationship that Brazil has with Iran gives it a unique opportunity to reiterate the message that was approved here at the G8 last night about the responsibilities that Iran has in the international community, that that relationship gives them the ability to underscore that with the Iranian government," Gibbs said.
Obama and Lula's meeting, either their fifth or sixth according to Gibbs, was a last minute add to the President's schedule after President Hu of China had to leave the summit to tend to protests in Western China.
And, to make the meeting a little lighter, both men talked about the recent soccer match between Brazil and the United States. The U.S. was up in the game and ended up losing to Brazil 3-2, but that did not stop President Obama from accepting a Brazilian soccer jersey signed by the whole team, including soccer star Kaka.
"I could sense some relief on the Brazilian President's part that he wasn't meeting with the President of the United States having lost to him in soccer," Gibbs said.
Brazil was invited to the G8 meetings as part of the G8 plus five, a group that includes South Africa, Brazil, India, China and Mexico.