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Biden Discusses Iraqi Oil With Kurdish Leaders


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to press Kurdish leaders to compromise on the controversial issue of sharing Iraq's oil wealth.

Biden met Thursday in Irbil with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani.

The vice president had been expected to urge passage of a hydrocarbon law that would define oil revenue sharing and clarify rules for foreign firms investing in Iraq's oil and gas fields.

A U.S. official says Biden would repeat what he told Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on Wednesday - that passage of the law is in Iraq's best interest. The country's Kurdish, Shi'ite and Sunni leaders have been in a long-running feud involving land and oil.

On Wednesday, Biden voiced confidence that efforts by insurgents to destabilize Iraq through attacks on civilians will fail.

He also reaffirmed U.S. commitment to a security pact -the Strategic Framework Agreement- that calls for a complete American withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011. He said the recent increase in violence will not change that timetable.

The vice president spoke after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad.

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