ICANN’s board of directors will next week vote on whether to redelegate .ml, the country-code top-level domain for the war-torn nation of Mali, to a new registry operator.
The ccTLD is currently delegated to Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (Sotelma), a publicly traded telecommunications provider, but it’s not currently possible to register a .ml domain.
The reasons for a redelegation are never publicized by ICANN until after they are approved, when IANA publishes a redelegation report, so it’s not yet clear what’s going on this case.
Mali has been hitting headlines in Europe recently due to the French involvement in government efforts to retake the northern parts of the country from Islamist rebels.
Following the outbreak of hostilities a year ago, in March 2012 the Malian government was overthrown in a coup d’état that was widely condemned by the international community.
Following sanctions the military quickly ceded power to an interim president, who continues in the role today ahead of elections to find a more permanent successor, scheduled for July.
France, supported by allies including the UK, moved in to help Mali retake the north last month.
Sotelma is based in the capital, Bamako, which is not held by rebels.
The redelegation of .ml is on the main agenda — rather than the consent agenda, which is usually the case for redelegations — for ICANN’s board meeting next Thursday.