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Iraqi PM accuses Kurdish leaders of corruption ahead of referendum

Published: Updated:

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi held a concurrent press conference on Sunday in which he warned that a planned Kurdish referendum on Monday would “bring us into useless internal conflict”.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Abadi accused Kurdish leaders, including Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government leader Masoud Barzani, of being corrupt and using the referendum as a way to hide behind internal issues like the non-payment of state employee’s salaries.

“Why not be transparent regarding the mass oil exports in Kurdistan in a clear account to the citizens? Most of Kurdistan’s internal problems are not with Baghdad and will worsen after the referendum,” Abadi said.

Barzani had earlier dismissed the concern of Iraq’s powerful neighbors, Iran and Turkey that the vote could destabilize the region, committing to respecting the laws on international boundaries” and not seek to redraw region’s borders.

“Only independence can reward the mothers of our martyrs,” he said, reminding the international community of the role played by the Kurds in the war on Islamic State. “Only through independence we can secure our future.”