Fidel Castro is “exceptionally well” and appears recovered from a health crisis that has kept him out of the public eye for more than three years, Brazil’s President has said, according to reports by his country’s news media.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spent more than an hour discussing “various topics” with his long-time friend, the 83-year-old Mr. Castro, who ceded power to his younger brother Raul — first temporarily, then permanently — after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006.

The meeting was closed to international news media based in Havana, but information about it was carried in Cuban state media and by Brazil’s private Agencia Estado news agency.

Mr. Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since falling ill. He has appeared healthier in photos released periodically by Cuba’s government.

Photographs of Wednesday’s meeting released by Brazil’s presidency show a beaming Mr. Castro wearing blue-and-white exercise clothing, one of a series of tracksuits that have become his trademark uniform since he has been holed up in an undisclosed location.

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