Iraq's Maliki meets with Exxon over oil operations

BAGHDAD Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:14am EST

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BAGHDAD Jan 21 (Reuters) - Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with the chairman of Exxon Mobil on Monday for talks on its oil operations that are at the heart of a dispute between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region, a government statement said.

Exxon has angered Iraq's central government by signing deals with the Kurdistan enclave, agreements Baghdad calls illegal contracts that risk the U.S. company's operations in Iraq's southern oilfields.

The talks between the Shi'ite premier and Exxon came as the U.S. major is in the process of pulling out of its stake in the huge West Qurna-1 oilfield in the south, after clashing with Baghdad over its Kurdistan deals in the north.

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