The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA) is a multilateral development and reform plan aimed at fostering economic and political liberalization in a wide geographic area of Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries. In December 2004, the first BMENA meeting took place in Rabat, Morocco and was called the "Forum for the Future."At the forum, foreign ministers and finance ministers of the countries in the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan as well as from the countries of the G8 pledged to create several new development programs and committed $60 million to a regional fund for business development. Critics of BMENA contend that the initiative focuses too heavily on economic issues instead of political reform and does little to strengthen non-governmental organizations and civil society groups in Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries. The 109th Congress may consider new democracy-promotion and development programs for the broader Middle East. For additional reading, see CRS Report RS21457, The Middle East Partnership Initiative: An Overview, and CRS Report RL32260, U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and FY2005 Funding. This report will be updated periodically to reflect new developments.