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OPEC producers are stepping up their diplomatic visits before the group's meeting in two weeks, potentially seeking a consensus on how to react to oil prices that have plunged to a four-year low. Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani flew to Riyadh Thursday just as Iraqi President Fouad Masoum left the kingdom after a two-day visit where he met with King Abdullah, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's foreign minister and representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, held talks in Algeria and Qatar. Falling oil prices are straining state budgets among OPEC members, including Iraq's government, which is leading a costly war against Islamist militants, and Libya that is struggling to keep crude output steady amid political divisions and violence.
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