Hamas has been holding secret political talks with five European Union member states in recent months, a senior member of the Gaza-based Islamist movement said on Wednesday.
The EU's official stance indicates that it will not deal with Hamas unless the group renounces violence and recognizes Israel.
Europe and the U.S. have been rethinking Mideast policy since the Arab Spring uprisings toppled several pro-Western regimes in favor of Islamists.
Osama Hamdan, who handles foreign relations for Hamas, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that talks with European government officials focus on the Hamas positions toward Israel and paralyzed Mideast peace efforts.
Hamdan would not name the countries. Three Hamas officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Britain, France and Holland are among them.
In response to the AP story, the U.K.' Commonwealth Office released a statement, saying: "We do not have any direct contact with Hamas."
"The Quartet have set out clearly that Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which its intentions should be judged," the statement added.
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