Defense lawyers for Exxon Mobil Corp. urged a federal judge on Monday to dismiss a longstanding suit by Indonesian villagers who have accused the company of abetting human rights abuses in their country.

Appearing before Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, defense counsel Alex Oh argued that continuing the case would interfere with U.S. foreign policy goals in a politically fragile region. Investigating claims that soldiers hired by Exxon shot, abducted and raped civilians could upend a delicate peace process in Indonesia, which is recovering from a civil war, she said.

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