WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says efforts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify pre-election statements rejecting creation of a Palestinian state still do not appear to advance prospects for a two-state solution to Mideast peace.
Obama says he still takes Netanyahu at his word for comments the Israeli leader made just ahead of the Israeli elections last week that a Palestinian state would not be created while he was prime minister.
Obama says no one has envisioned the creation of a Palestinian state "overnight." But he said the goal is to give Palestinians hope for a secure state adjoining Israel.
He says: "It's hard to envision how that happens based on the prime minister's statements."
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama says he won't be commenting on reports that Israel spied on closed-door negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.
But the president offered assurances that Israel and other partners in the region have been briefed about progress in the negotiations.
Obama says the negotiations will only produce an agreement if the U.S. is confident that it will keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The president says that if there is an agreement, all sides will be able to "lift up the hood," as he put it, to make sure it's a good deal.
Obama spoke during a news conference Tuesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House.