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Abadi: Kurdish Region 'Part Of Iraq' And Should Remain So

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has urged his country's Kurdish autonomous region to reject any plans for independence.

"The Kurdistan region will not develop without Iraq and Iraq must be united in all its components," said Abadi on February 11 after talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Kurdistan is part of Iraq and I hope it will remain so," he added.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani said last week that the "time has come" for Iraq's Kurds to hold a referendum on statehood.

But the region faces economic problems as sinking oil prices hurt the Iraqi economy.

Discontent has mounted over unpaid salaries and wage cuts in the government sector, with doctors and traffic police in the Kurdish region protesting this month.

"Iraqi oil revenues have fallen to just 15 percent of the revenues we had two years ago," said Abadi. "This is a major decline and we therefore have great difficulties."

World oil prices have dropped by 70 percent since June 2014.

Merkel announced on February 11 a credit line to Iraq worth some 500 million euros ($560 million) to help Iraq's "economic recovery [through] infrastructure projects."

Based on reporting by AFP and Al-Arabiya

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