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“Egypt-U.S. relations have seen more serious challenges than the current problem,” Ambassador Sameh Shukri told the Ahram Online news service.

Mr. Shukri expressed confidence that both sides will work out their differences and Egypt will continue to receive $1.5 billion in U.S. aid.

President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, among other top U.S. officials, have urged Egypt to drop the charges.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, plans to lead a congressional delegation to Cairo this week to press the issue.

Egypt on Sunday set Feb. 26 as the date to begin a trial of the Americans and 27 other pro-democracy advocates accused of illegally operating in Egypt.

The Americans include the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. They worked with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House to promote fair elections in Egypt.


Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Tarja Cronberg, a Finnish member of the European Parliament from the Green Party. As chairwoman of the parliament’s Iran delegation, she will meet with Senate staffers and public policy experts to discuss strategies for dealing with Iran.


• Michel Barnier, the European Union commissioner for internal market and services. His meetings include talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Christine Lagarde, head the International Monetary Fund. On Thursday, he addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

• Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, who addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

• Carolina Trivelli, Peru’s minister for social development and inclusion. She addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.

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