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Obama congratulates Netanyahu on election in phone call

March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory in Israel’s election.

Obama spoke by phone with Netanyahu on Thursday. The White House says Obama told Netanyahu the U.S. values its close security cooperation and longstanding partnership with Israel. A brief statement summarizing the conversation says the two leaders agreed to keep consulting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues.

But the White House says Obama also restated U.S. support for Palestinian statehood. The U.S. has been criticizing Netanyahu for declaring opposition to Palestinian statehood just ahead of Israel’s election Tuesday.

The White House also says the leaders discussed U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran.

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