ECOWAS pressure reduces as Niger junta reopens airspace 

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Niger Republic military leaders have reopened the country’s airspace to all commercial flights.

A transport ministry spokesperson made this known on Monday, according to Reuters.

The junta closed the airspace on August 6 after seizing power in a coup.

They had initially closed Niger’s airspace citing the threat of military intervention from the West African regional bloc.

However, Reuters said the junta did not immediately give a reason for lifting the ban.

The closure had forced Air France and other European carriers to suspend some flights and take longer routes across the African continent.

Landlocked Niger is more than twice the size of France and many flight paths across Africa would normally pass above it.

The regional bloc had given the junta a 7-day ultimatum for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum, whose government was toppled on July 26, 2023.

A few days after calling the bluff of the Economic Community of West African States, the junta shut its airspace indefinitely.

Burkina Faso and Mali had indicated interest to fight on the side of Niger in the event that ECOWAS carried out its threat to invade Niger.

However, ECOWAS has prioritized dialogue after its threat failed to rein in the military regime.

The coup, which took place in Gabon last week, made the Niger situation complex.

–  Agency

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