WASHINGTON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday congratulated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the formation of a new government and pledged cooperation on shared challenges.
"President Obama looks forward to working closely with the prime minister and the new government to address the many challenges we face and advance our shared interest in peace and security," the White House said in a statement.
"The United States places a high value on its deep and enduring bonds with Israel and the Israeli people," the statement said. " The president looks forward to further strengthening those bonds when he travels to Israel next week to meet with Israeli officials and to speak directly with the Israeli people."
A new coalition government was formed in Israel on Friday, two months after the Israelis voted in the country's Jan. 22 elections, after Netanyahu's Likud Party signed agreements with Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home on Friday. The new coalition will be inaugurated on Monday.
Obama will leave Washington on Tuesday night for his first three-day overseas trip after he took office in January for his second term, which will take him to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the two-year-old conflict in Syria and Iran's controversial nuclear program are expected to dominate his agenda.