N’Dour, who had planned a 38-city tour beginning March 26, issued a statement Friday saying a tour of the United States would be “inappropriate.”

“It is my strong conviction that the responsibility for disarming Iraq should rest with the United Nations. As a matter of conscience I question the United States government’s apparent intention to commence war with Iraq,” said the Grammy-nominated 43-year-old singer, who is Muslim.

“I believe that coming to America at this time would be perceived in many parts of the world – rightly or wrongly – as a support of this policy, and that, as a consequence, it is inappropriate to perform in the U.S. at this juncture.

“I understand that there are many in the U.S. who do not support the idea of their government initiating war in Iraq at this time and I offer my greatest respect to them. I also regret the difficulties this causes to those who were to present my concerts in North America and those who were looking forward to seeing me and my band.

“This tour was over a year and a half in the planning and was the greatest commitment I had ever made to performing in the U.S. It is my fervent wish to return to the U.S. in better times. But I find it impossible to imagine playing concerts in America when such grave issues are confronting all the peoples of the world.”

A superstar in Senegal, N’Dour rose to prominence in the United States and Europe in the 1980s with his country’s homegrown popular music, mbalax – a mix of traditional Wolof drumming with African-rooted Cuban sounds, American soul and rock.