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Exxon contract holds, Kurdish leader says

April 3, 2012 at 6:13 AM

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- In terms of oil, most of the statements coming out of the central government in Baghdad are "rubbish," the Kurdish natural resources minister said.

Kurdish Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami denied reports from Baghdad that an oil exploration between Exxon Mobil and the Kurdish government was frozen.

"What comes out of Baghdad is about 90 percent, with respect, rubbish," he told Bloomberg News during a visit to Washington.

Exxon, he said, is in contact with the Kurdish government in Erbil on a regular basis and the company is "committed" to its contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Baghdad has said it won't work with companies that have unilateral deals with the KRG. A spokesman for the U.S. supermajor wouldn't provide a comment to the news service.

"It's a loss for Iraq if they continue with this madness of this policy," Hawrami said. "It has to be resolved in a few weeks and months ahead."

The KRG announced Monday that it halted exports because it hadn't received a $1.5 billion payment owed by Baghdad for oil deliveries.

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