| GEO World|
| British parliament committee for talks with Hamas|
| Updated at: 1738 PST, Sunday, July 26, 2009|
BTHLEHEM: The British parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee urged the UK to open dialogue with moderate Hamas officials, arguing that the embargo against the group had failed.
Most Western states refuse to talk to Hamas, designating it as a “terrorist organization” in part for its refusal to recognize Israel.
"We conclude that there continue to be few signs that the current policy of non-engagement is achieving the Quartet's stated objectives," the committee said, according to Reuters.
"We further conclude that the credible peace process for which the Quartet hopes, as part of its strategy for undercutting Hamas, is likely to be difficult to achieve without greater cooperation from Hamas itself."
Russia is the only member of the international Quartet, a body tasked with pursuing peace in the Middle East. The group, which also includes the US, EU, and the UN, has conditioned talks with Hamas on the group’s acceptance of Israel and renunciation of violence.
Reuters reported that the committee was concerned the Quartet failed to provide Hamas with greater incentives to change its positions. It said Britain should talk to Hamas moderates as a way of encouraging the group to meet the Quartet’s conditions.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government changed policy in March when it opened the door to low-level contacts with the Lebanese Islamist group Hizbullah.
The committee of six British MPs, Reuters said, also expressed concern about the lack of a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel.
"We conclude that this situation makes for an ongoing risk of insecurity and a renewed escalation of violence," it said.