Hamas 'in talks with EU countries'

A senior Hamas official said the Islamic militant group has been holding secret political talks with five European Union member states in recent months.

The EU says officially that it will not deal with Hamas unless the group renounces violence and recognises Israel.

Europe and the US have been rethinking Middle East policy since the Arab Spring uprisings toppled several pro-Western regimes in favour of Islamists.

Osama Hamdan, who handles foreign relations for Hamas, said talks with European government officials focus on the Hamas positions towards Israel and paralysed Middle East peace efforts.

Hamdan would not name the countries.

Three Hamas officials in Gaza said Britain, France and Holland are among them.

There was no immediate comment from the EU countries.

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