G7 leaders take time out to let the love in

Ise-Shima (Japan) (AFP) –


A meeting of G7 leaders awkwardly transformed into an out-take from a romantic comedy as Barack Obama professed the group's "love" for Germany's Angela Merkel, who in turn found time to give Italy's premier a playful squeeze.

In between talks focused on the global economy and terrorism, the US president on Friday assured a German photographer that the less-than-expressive Merkel was tops in his book.

Clasping Merkel's hand, Obama declared: "We love your chancellor".

The day before, Germany's sometimes undemonstrative leader wrapped her arm around the waist of the dashing Matteo Renzi as the gang gazed at the view from a rooftop terrace.

Renzi was locked in a decidedly unofficial race with Canada's pin-up prime minister Justin Trudeau over who was the biggest hunk at the summit.

Japanese media and a growing legion of female fans have been swooning over the 44-year-old Canadian, who celebrated his wedding anniversary on Wednesday by taking the day off to spend it with wife Sophie.