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In pics, videos: the 12 most awkward greetings of world leaders

It’s going to take a lot of diplomacy to smooth these over…

THERE ARE A WHOLE host of factors to consider when one world leader welcomes a visiting dignitary before the cameras – how hard should you shake hands, and for how long? What about those Euro-style kisses? When is a hug appropriate?

First impressions count, and the field of international diplomacy is littered with moments when it all went wrong.

From odd embraces to overzealous arrivals, here are 12 of the most awkward greetings ever photographed between world leaders:

In pics, videos: the 12 most awkward greetings of world leaders
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  • Awkward...

    An awkward mid-embrace pause between George W Bush and Angela Merkel back in 2008. It's going to be hard to get that hug back on track. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    Brian Cowen looking completely at ease in this embrace with Nicholas Sarkozy outside Government Buildings in Dublin. (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    The gold-trimmed surroundings don't really distract from the awkward body language of this hunched-handshake between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-First Deputy Premier Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
  • Awkward...

    Focus, George, focus! (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    Is it just us or is Tony Blair trying just a tad too hard to look excited to see Margaret Thatcher? (Tim Ireland/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    We're pretty sure that sniggering in your guest's face upon their arrival breaches diplomacy etiquette on a range of levels. (John Stillwell/PA Archive)
  • Awkward...

    The G8 Summit arrivals at Heiligendamm, Germany, in 2007 got off to this odd start. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo/PA)
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    Silvio Berlusconi grasps the arm of Japanese PM Taro Aso and laughs at his cufflinks as world leaders look on helplessly. (Oli Scarff/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel get friendly at the G8 Summit in May. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/PA)
  • Awkward...

    Enda Kenny and Nicolas Sarkozy playfully bopping each other on the head and arm to show that a financial crisis is no reason to fall out. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert/PA)
  • Awkward...

    Nicolas Sarkozy laying down the house rules to Silvio Berlusconi before dinner at the G8 summit in France last year. (Chris Ratcliffe/PA Wire)
  • Awkward...

    We're not sure how well Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Gaza's deputy commander of police Salim Al-Bourdani had choreographed this July 2000 greeting/smoochfest. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis/PA)

And for world leaders, second in awkwardness to a blundering greeting is a post-greeting abandonment:

YouTube:

Of course, it’s also really, really awkward when one world leader chooses to answer his phone moments before the official greeting, leaving the other standing idly by on the red carpet looking less than amused:

YouTube: 

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