The Latest: Trump ally Netanyahu calls Biden president-elect

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Israel’s president and prime minister spoke with Joe Biden on Tuesday for the first time since his victory in the U.S. election, joining other world leaders in referring to him as the president-elect despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, congratulated Biden after the election was called earlier this month but did not refer to him as president-elect then and has avoided commenting on the election results.

Israelis have welcomed Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and his unprecedented support for Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians. Biden’s plans to return to the Iran nuclear agreement and press for the revival of the Mideast peace process could set him on a collision course with Netanyahu, who had icy relations with the Obama administration.

“In a warm conversation, the president-elect reiterated his deep commitment to the state of Israel and its security,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Netanyahu ”said that the special bond between Israel and the US is a fundamental component of Israel’s security and its policy. The two agreed to meet soon in order to discuss the many issues on the agenda and reiterated the need to continue bolstering the steadfast alliance between the U.S. and Israel,” the statement said.

Israel’s ceremonial president, Reuven Rivlin, also spoke with Biden and congratulated him on the election, calling him “a long-standing friend of the state of Israel.” He added: “Our friendship is based on values that are beyond partisan politics and that we have no doubt that, under your leadership, the United States is committed to Israel’s security and success.”

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Categories: National News