Saudi Arabia and Sudan are boycotting next week's U.N. population conference in Cairo following criticism by Muslim clerics that the meeting violates the principles of Islam.
The Saudi representative at the United Nations in New York sent a message earlier this week "regretting they are not going to participate," an official at conference headquarters in Cairo said Tuesday.Sudan's government announced Monday night it would boycott the meeting and urged other Muslim nations to also withdraw because the meeting would result in "the spread of immoral and irreligious values."
Saudi Arabia and Sudan are the first countries known to withdraw from the U.N.-sponsored International Conference on Population and Development, which is expected to draw some 15,000 people to Cairo beginning Sept. 5.
Also Tuesday, an Egyptian court rejected a suit by Muslim fundamentalists aimed at blocking the conference.
The meeting is intended to set guidelines for the next 20 years for halting the growth in world population.