76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City

WATCH: Iraq president on ‘national battle’ against corruption

Iraqi President Barham Salih on Thursday said his country was facing a “national battle” against corruption and that it could not move forward until it was won.

Watch the briefing in the player above.

In remarks before the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Salih said that much depended on his country fighting corruption and terrorism.

He also said his country is one of the most affected in the world by climate change, and urged other world leaders who might differ politically on other issues to be united in fighting it.

Iraq, he said, faces a turning point in the coming weeks, as the country heads to the polls in early elections in response to widespread protests.

Next month’s vote is scheduled to be held on Oct. 10, a year before the elections were due, in line with a promise made by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi when he assumed office in 2020.

He is seeking to appease anti-government protesters who rose up in October 2019 in Baghdad and Iraq’s south.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi youth took to the streets to decry rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment.

Hundreds died as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds. The protests dwindled following restrictive measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The legitimacy and transparency of the election has been questioned with incidents of violence against activists and independent candidates on the rise, including a string of targeted killings in the months leading to the polls.

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