Obama reassures Israel on Iran nuclear talks, Palestinian effort to join global court

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Monday he opposes the Palestinians' move to join the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.

Obama spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House said Obama told Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority isn't yet a state and isn't eligible to join the court. Obama said the Palestinians' application to the court isn't constructive and undermines trust with Israel.

The U.S. is reviewing its aid package to the Palestinians because of their bid to join the court. Palestine was accepted as an observer state by the 122 member countries in December. Its ratification of the statute establishing the ICC in late December has been accepted at the United Nations, and the state of Palestine will become the 123rd member of the international war crimes tribunal on April 1.

The United States is not a member of the ICC, so its views have no bearing on the court.

The White House says Obama also told Netanyahu the U.S. is working toward a nuclear deal that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu has repeatedly warned such a deal could undercut Israel's security.

The nuclear talks resume this week in Switzerland.

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