WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - 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.
"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 signalled that it may make another peace push in his second term, which started with his inauguration earlier this week.
(Reporting By Jeff Mason)