ITU chief offers hand of friendship to ICANN

Kevin Murphy, December 3, 2012, 10:12:20 (UTC), Domain Policy

Are ICANN and the International Telecommunications Union going to start playing nicely?

That’s the message coming out of the ITU’s World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai this morning, when ITU secretary general Hamadoun Toure said the two organizations are “complementary”.

Addressing his “good friend”, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, during the WCIT opening ceremony, Toure said:

I have invited Fadi to recognize here the impact of ICANN on the development of Internet, and I’ve said this, this morning in our heads of delegations meeting that I believe we should be reaching out and them accepting here means that they are on the same road.

I think if you help us, we can walk the talk and I believe I can count on you and the words that I received when I heard of the acceptance of Fadi Chehade’ to this meeting was a testimony of everyone here, believing that it’s time to start working together to be complementary and to work together. And I believe we have started the first step of that.

Chehade himself addressed delegates during the opening ceremony too, speaking partly in Arabic, his first language.

WCIT was widely feared by certain countries — notably the US — due to concerns that some governments would try to assert authority over ICANN’s internet governance functions.

That fear seems to have been calmed in recent weeks, but the substantive policy work at WCIT, which runs until December 13, will be the real test of the ITU’s relationship with ICANN.

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