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updated: 1/23/2013 7:30 AM

Exxon Mobil meets Kurd leader after Baghdad talks

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Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's Kurdish regional government says its president has held talks with the head of Exxon Mobil amid signs that the energy giant may be exploring new options with the Kurds' rival, the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurds said late Tuesday that regional President Massoud Barzani met with Exxon Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson in Switzerland and discussed company activities. It gave no further details.

Exxon infuriated Baghdad in 2011 by signing a deal with the Kurds to hunt for oil in their region and in nearby disputed territories.

Tillerson's talks followed a rare meeting Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Exxon had planned to sell a key stake in Iraq's south and focus instead on the Kurdish contract, though Monday's talks prompted speculation it is reconsidering those plans.

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