WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday renewed its call for a resumption of long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the wake of Israeli elections in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged the winner but with a weaker-than-expected showing for his right-wing bloc.

White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to speculate on Netanyahu's efforts to forge a new governing coalition after center-left parties scored surprising gains but said President Barack Obama would likely call the prime minister to congratulate him on his election win.

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"We believe that what needs to take place is direct negotiations between the two parties (Israelis and Palestinians) that addresses the final-status issues and results in a two-state solution," Carney told reporters when asked about the possible consequences of the election for moribund peace efforts.


Obama in his first term failed to make progress in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking but his administration has signaled that it may make another peace push in his second term, which started with his inauguration earlier this week.