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Obama calls Netanyahu to reiterate commitment to two-state solution

US President Barack Obama has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his electoral win. Obama also reiterated the US' support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

During the telephone call on Thursday evening, Obama and Netanyahu agreed to continue discussing the "difficult path forward" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House said in a statement.

"The president reaffirmed the United States' long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Two-state solution

The US president's emphasis on the importance of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes following controversial remarks made by the Israeli premier the day before Tuesday's general election.

Ahead of the vote, Netanyahu ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state if he was re-elected.

On Thursday, however, the re-elected Israeli premier

denied abandoning his commitment to a Palestinian state

, but said conditions had made that possibility remote.

"I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution," Netanyahu told the US news channel MSNBC on.

West Bank withdrawal

In response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's re-election, Palestinians plan to resubmit a UN Security Council resolution to set a deadline for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.

In December, the Council rejected a resolution that would have called for Israel's withdrawal by 2017, but this time around Palestinians are hoping for previously unattainable support from the US.

In Thursday's phone call with Netanyahu, Obama also addressed talks with Iran over its nuclear program - something the Israeli prime minister has rejected.

The US president told Netanyahu that the White House remains focused on reaching a deal that will prohibit Tehran from building a nuclear weapon and ensuring that its nuclear program is used only for peaceful domestic purposes.

ksb/bk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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