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The European Union's foreign policy chief, or High Representative, is adept at schmoozing, smiling and patting colleagues on the shoulder, reluctant to utter a controversial word. It has been his official image since taking office in October 1999.
But increasingly a more pensive, private side to this restless former Spanish foreign minister and former secretary general of the Nato military alliance has emerged. As if throwing caution to the wind, he was more than willing recently to speak openly about an issue that increasingly preoccupies him: the complexity of the transatlantic rift, deepened by a possible US-led military strike against Iraq, nuclear sabre rattling by North Korea and a worsening Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
And despite rhetoric about the values that bind both sides of the Atlantic, Mr Solana says Europe and the US are growing...