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Greek and Egyptian Governments Applaud ICANN's Move Toward Autonomy

Speaking at the opening of the inaugural Internet Governance Forum held in Athens today, the Greek Minister of Transport and Communications, His Excellency Mr Michael Liapis, and the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, His Excellency Dr Tarek Kamel, made separate statements indicating their support for ICANN's move toward autonomy under the recently signed Joint Partnership Agreement with the United States Government.

On 29 October this year ICANN signed a new agreement with the United States Department of Commerce for coordination of the Internet's system of identifiers.

"Major developments have occurred since the acceptance of the Tunisia Agenda for the Information Society, nearly one year ago, in November 2005. The most significant being the recent decision of the US government to provide more autonomy to ICANN, in this way taking one step further towards full liberalization of Internet Governance, for the next three years" His Excellency Minister Liapis said in his opening remarks to the forum today.

In addition, His Excellency Minister Kamel explained to the Forum that Egypt has been actively involved with the global community in supporting initiatives to drive the Internet towards more internationalization.

"In this respect, I would like to recognize the efforts recently exerted by ICANN, in taking serious steps towards an enhanced autonomy within a stronger international mandate" the Minister said.

Also in attendance at the IGF forum, ICANN's President and CEO Dr Paul Twomey welcomed the remarks.

"Both Ministers clearly understand the significance of this new agreement and the dramatic step forward it represents for ICANN's multi-stakeholder model of consultation. We thank them for their recognition" Dr Twomey said.

About ICANN:

ICANN is a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the Internet's systems of unique identifiers, including the systems of domain names and numeric addresses that are used to reach computers on the Internet*. ICANN's mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of these unique identifier systems, which are vital to the Internet's operation. In addition, ICANN coordinates policy development related to these technical functions through its effective bottom-up consensus model.

(* This includes responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root zone management for the root server system)

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."