Obama: 'US support for Israel's security firm'

US president congratulates Netanyahu on inauguration; Ban Ki-moon urges PM to continue peace process.

obama netanyahu 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
obama netanyahu 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The Obama administration is still committed to a two-state solution, according a Reuters report Wednesday which quoted the White House. Mike Hammer, a White House National Security Council spokesman, was quoted as saying, "The president has said many times that we are committed to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security." The spokesman also reiterated US President Barak Obama's promise to work "vigorously for this two-state solution." Regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's new government, Hammer said, "We look forward to working with the new Israeli government and understand that we will have frank discussions, and that these discussions will be based on an underlying shared commitment to Israel and its security." Obama also called Netanyahu personally on Wednesday and congratulated him on his inauguration to the premiership. Obama, currently on his first overseas trip as president, phoned Netanyahu in the early morning hours Wednesday, and congratulated him on his first day in office. According to Netanyahu's office, Obama made clear that US support for Israel's security was unwavering, and wished him well. The conversation lasted close to 30 minutes, and was held in a "friendly" atmosphere. The two agreed to meet in the near future, though no date was given. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also spoke to Netanyahu on Wednesday, and urged him to continue with the Middle East peace process. Also Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin called Netanyahu, and the two leaders discussed strengthening of bilateral relations between Moscow and Jerusalem, regional security, and the peace process. Putin told Netanyahu that he "would be a welcome guest in Moscow."