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Egypt working 'diligently' to resolve US NGO crackdown issue: McCain

Cairo, Tue, 21 Feb 2012 ANI

Cairo, Feb 21(ANI): Egypt is working to resolve the issue of the crackdown on American civil society groups, US senator John McCain has said, signaling easing of relations between both countries.


McCain said that Egyptian Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi has assured senators that the leading council of generals is "working very diligently" to "resolve" the NGO issue.


He and his delegation of four other senators also hinted at warming relations between conservative American lawmakers and the Muslim Brotherhood.


"After talking with the Muslim Brotherhood, I was struck with their commitment to change the law because they believe it's unfair," The Wall Street Journal quoted a senator Lindsey Graham, who was travelling with McCain, as saying.


His statement comes ahead of 16 Americans scheduled to face trial on charges of having violated Egyptian laws on foreign funding for non-governmental organizations.


Both McCain and Graham stressed that the accused NGO employees are innocent of accusations that U.S. government-funded pro-democracy groups seek to undermine Egypt's fragile interim government and divide the country.


The statements marks a departure from previous threats by American politicians to suspend 1.3 billion dollar in aid that Washington has given Egypt's military each year since 1987.


The US' suspending of military aid to Egypt would rupture alliance with one of its strongest security partners in the Middle East.


Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutors have said that the 16 Americans and 27 other NGO workers will face trial on February 26 on charges of having illegally run unregistered foreign organizations and having received foreign funds without the government's approval. (ANI)


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