Abadi Rejects Referendum, Accuses Kurdish Leaders of Corruption
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the government of Iraq will not accept the Kurdistan independence referendum, accusing Kurdish leaders of corruption.
Abadi held a press conference on Sunday (September 24) saying the Iraqi forces liberated Anbar province from Islamic State (ISIS) militants and removed the threat on Erbil because it was Iraq’s duty to protect every inch of Iraqi land.
“We confirm that we will not abandon our Kurdish citizens. We reject sectarian and racist state. Iraq remains for all Iraqis and we will not allow it to be the property of a person,” Abadi added.
He further said that it is the duty of the leaders to protect their citizens from danger, not to endanger them and to bring them into conflict.
Polling stations are set to open in parts of the Kurdistan Region as the autonomous region is heading into Monday's referendum to decide whether to stay part of Iraq or split and establish a newly-independent country.
The Kurdish authorities have long complained that Baghdad has failed to make budget payments to the region, while the central government has opposed oil deals made by the Kurds without its consent.
Abadi said it is important to explain for the Kurdish citizens that most of the issues of the Kurdistan Region are internal and not with Baghdad. “The economic and financial issues in the region are due to corruption and mismanagement,” Abadi added.
He accused the Kurdish leaders of being corrupted and using the referendum as a way to hide behind internal issues like the non-payment of state employees’ 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.