On Wednesday Britain said it was prepared to engage in direct contacts with the political wing of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the AFP reported.

Hezbollah became part of a national unity government there last year.

Since 2005, London has had no official talks with Hezbollah and it added the military wing to a blacklist of designated terrorist groups.

We have reconsidered the position, Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell told a parliamentary committee hearing, the AFP reported.

According to Rammell the formation of national unity government in which Hezbollah is participating is one of the main reasons for the reconsideration.

The unity government was formed last year in July. This saved the country from a breakout of a renewed civil war.

Rammell said there had already been a first meeting, between a delegation of lawmakers from the main opposition Conservative party visiting Lebanon and a Lebanese parliamentary delegation which included a member of Hezbollah, the AFP reported.

We will look to have further discussions and our overriding objective in that is to press Hezbollah to play a more constructive role and move away from violence, he said.

However, Rammell stressed there would be no such change towards Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian movement, saying: I don't think there's an analogy.

Direct dialogue is however only expected to restart once Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to existence by signing a commitment and also rejecting violence.