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France's Total buys stakes in Iraqi Kurdish oil

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Marathon Oil says it has sold an interest in two oil exploration areas in Iraq's northern Kurdish region to French oil giant Total.

Houston-based Marathon said Tuesday's deal will give Total a 35 percent stake in the Harir and Safen blocks, while cutting its own interest in the blocks to 45 percent. The blocks are northeast of the regional capital Irbil.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Iraq's Arab-led central government in Baghdad does not approve of energy companies signing deals with the Kurds to explore for oil in their self-rule region. Baghdad wants to manage its energy resources nationwide, but the Kurds say the constitution does not require them to go through Baghdad.