UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday held talks at 10 Downing Street, the first meeting between heads of state in Britain since the coronavirus pandemic started.

The two leaders have spent around 45 minutes in private after which they watched a flypast over London by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Red Arrows and its French counterpart team, La Patrouille de France.

On Brexit negotiations, PM Johnson welcomed the agreement to intensify talks in July and underlined that Britain does not believe it makes sense for the negotiations to be prolonged into the fall, according to the statement.

Britain has formally ruled out the possibility of an extended post-Brexit transition period.

Earlier this week, Johnson held video talks with European Union (EU) chiefs, with both sides calling for a new momentum in the search for an agreement before the end of this year when the Brexit transition period ends.

Hundreds of refugees have been making the perilous journey in small boats across the English Channel, one of the world’s busiest waterways, from mainland Europe.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation on the fight against coronavirus.

The French leader’s visit to London came on the 80th anniversary of a famous speech made by French Resistance leader Charles de Gaulle in a BBC radio broadcast directed at people in Nazi-occupied France.

During their meeting, Johnson and Macron reflected on the sacrifice made by the British and French people in the World War II and on the enduring strength of the Britain-France relationship.

“They highlighted the modern day successes of this friendship including the political and defence cooperation enshrined in the Lancaster House Agreement ten years ago,” the statement said.

In 2019, Johnson had discussed his Brexit proposal, which received a cold reception in Brussels, with President Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

It was 80 years ago that General Charles de Gaulle broadcast a historic message from London to his fellow countrymen imploring them not to give up the fight against Hitler.

France was on its knees at the time, German troops having entered Paris four days earlier, and on the verge of agreeing an armistice confirming its formal military surrender.

The 18th June 1940 remains one of the most important dates in UK-French history and still has enormous resonance on both sides of the channel.

Earlier, Macron and Britain’s Prince Charles laid wreaths at a statue in London of General de Gaulle.

A statue of Churchill in London, boarded up after being vandalised during Black Lives Matter demonstrations, was uncovered ahead of the French leaders’ visit to the British capital.

(With inputs from agency)