SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) The cheek kiss greeting, or “bise”, has caught out many a visitor to France, as US Secretary of State found out when he greeted French President Francois Hollande with open arms.
Unsure how to respond, the French leader stretched out his, clasping Mr Kerry’s hands.
Mr Kerry pulled him into a brief hug to his right, at which time Hollande appeared to go back in for “la bise”.
Mr Kerry caught up, accepted the kiss on his right cheek, before they clasped hands again, awkwardly placing their arms around each other as they walked side by side up the stairs into the Elysee Palace.
Half-hug, half-bise, it was a moving clash of cultures.