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“It is of great concern that the United States does not have a better public image here in Egypt because we feel we’ve had a long, productive relationship with Egypt,” Mrs. Patterson said.

The United States has given Egypt $1.5 billion a year since Egypt signed the Camp David Accords recognizing Israel in 1978. In February, President Obama also urged Hosni Mubarak to step down as Egyptian president shortly after anti-government protests erupted there.

Mrs. Patterson predicted that Egypt’s military rulers will honor a pledge to hand over authority to an elected government after elections later this year.

“It’s going to be temporary,” she said of the Arab nation’s military rule.

The ambassador also expressed confidence that the military rulers will phase out an emergency law that was expanded after a mob attacked the Israeli Embassy earlier this month.

“We hope the law will be phased out,” she said. “But we see a democratic process on track under the leadership of the military council.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.