( dpa )- Yemen has decided not to host the 4th Forum for the Future after key participants, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asked for postponement, a Yemeni Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.
The conference, a key pillar of the Middle East democracy initiative announced by US President George W Bush in 2004, was originally scheduled to be held in Sana'a last December, then postponed until the end of January.
Foreign ministers of the G8 member countries, Arab countries and representatives of regional groups were due to participate.
" Yemen decided to apologize for not hosting the 4th Forum for the Future after the time for its convention has passed," the official said in a statement posted on a website close the Yemeni presidency.
The meeting was originally rescheduled from late January owing to the engagement of some invited ministers during the original date of convention in December, including Rice who apologized and requested postponement.
The Yemeni official expressed "regret" for the fact that sponsors have failed to set a new date.
The forum was set up in 2004 as part of President Bush's Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative. Its first meetings were held in Morocco in 2004, Bahrain in 2005 and Jordan in 2006.
Yemen, an impoverished country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has allied itself with the United States in the 'war on terrorism' after the September 2001 on US cities, and has since pursued suspected members of al-Qaeda and put scores of them on trial.