President Barack Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday for the first time since the Tuesday election in Israel.
Obama congratulated the prime minister for the Likud party’s win, according to the White House readout of the conversation. They also talked about some of the thorniest issues that have divided the leaders in their cool relationship in recent years.
“The president and the prime minister agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the White House said.
President Barack Obama listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, March 3, 2014. (Image source: AFP/Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
Earlier Thursday, NBC aired an interview in which Netanyahu backtracked on his opposition to a two-state solution. During the Thursday press briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest continually said, “words matter,” in reference to Netanyahu’s position in his recent campaign against a two-state solution.
Netanyahu has also strongly opposed a U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran, a subject he spoke to Congress about earlier this month. While Netanyahu was in Washington, Obama declined to see him because of close proximity to the Israeli election.
“On Iran, the president reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program,” the White House said.