Italy has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to extend its deadline for the reinstatement of Niger’s ousted president.

According to NAN, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani gave the advice in an interview published on Monday.

“The only way is the diplomatic one. I hope that the ultimatum of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which expired last night at midnight, will be extended today,” Tajani told La Stampa newspaper.

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Niger closed its airspace on Sunday until further notice over the reported threat of military intervention from the West African regional bloc.

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The threat was reported after coup leaders rejected a deadline to reinstate the country’s ousted president Mohammed Bazoum who is still being detained.

Earlier, thousands of junta supporters flocked to a stadium in Niamey, the capital, cheering the decision not to cave into external pressure to stand down by Sunday following the July 26 power grab.