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Mugabe: AU Will Form Splinter Group if Not Given Permanent UN Seat

Zimbawe's president, Robert Mugabe, gestures as he addresses supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party at Harare International Airport, Zimbabwe, Sept. 24, 2016.

Zimbabwe's president said Saturday that the African Union was planning to form a splinter group with countries such as Russia, China and India if the U.N. Security Council did not include members of his continent next year.

President Robert Mugabe said the African Union was still concerned that it had no permanent seats on the Security Council.

Upon arrival in Harare from New York and this year's U.N. General Assembly late Saturday, the 92-year-old Zimbabwean leader told ZANU-PF supporters that the African Union wanted to be on the Security Council if veto powers of the five permanent members — China, France, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Russia — were not removed.

"It is not all permanent members being tough. It is Britain, France and [the United States of] America," he said. "If they remain adamant, they must not cry foul when we agree to form our own organization with countries like China, India and other Asian countries. This is what we want to do next year in September, when we have made a commitment."

During his 30-minute speech, Mugabe did not refer to calls made Thursday by his Botswana counterpart, Ian Khama, to step down and allow fresh blood to improve Zimbabwe's economy.