Dutch bank ABN AMRO is continuing to hold talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland-led consortium which has offered 71 billion euros ($97 billion) for the Netherlands' largest bank in a bidding war with British bank Barclays, the two groups said on Sunday.

The statement comes after media reports of comments attributed to ABN AMRO's chief executive Rijkman Groenik on Friday cast a chill over the discussions.

ABN AMRO and the consortium have agreed to continue the constructive dialogue to resolve any outstanding questions regarding the offer of the consortium for ABN AMRO, and to maintain a level playing field, ABN and the RBS-led consortium said in a joint statement.

RBS, together with its partners Belgian-Dutch Fortis and Spain's Santander, is battling against Barclays to buy ABN in what would be the biggest ever bank takeover. Barclays' offer is worth about 65 billion euros.

Sunday's statement followed a report in the Dutch news paper Het Financieele Dagblad on Friday which quoted ABN's chief executive Rijkman Groenink as saying Fortis is paying too much for ABN AMRO and its shareholders would be well advised to vote against the takeover.

ABN and the RBS-led consortium said in their statement: The Consortium accepts the assurances by ABN AMRO that Mr Groenink was misquoted as having given advice how to vote to Fortis Shareholders which in fact he did not.

Belgian-Dutch financial services group Fortis meets its shareholders on Monday to seek their approval to go ahead with the deal in a vote that could make or break its plans.

The Consortium and ABN AMRO both confirm that there is no dispute about the profitability of (ABN's operations in the Netherlands), the statement also said.