Obama urges Netanyahu to resume peace talks with Palestinians

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:33pm EDT

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) smile as they hold Israeli flags during the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem July 18, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) smile as they hold Israeli flags during the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem July 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama spoke by telephone on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and urged him to resume peace talks with Palestinians, the White House said in a statement.

The telephone call was part of regular consultations between the two leaders, the White House said, but came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region to try to help restart talks that stalled in 2010.

"The President encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to continue to work with Secretary Kerry to resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible," the White House said, noting the leaders also talked about security issues in Egypt, Iran and Syria.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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