In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, British Defence Secretary Des Browne said, ''Britain and other democratic states should negotiate with organisations linked to violence, including elements of the Taliban and Hizbollah, in an attempt to prevent the long-term spread of terrorism.'' ''What you need to do in conflict resolution is to bring the people who believe that the answer to their political ambitions will be achieved through violence into a frame of mind that they accept that their political ambitions will be delivered by politics,'' he added.
However, he said there was presently nothing to negotiate about with al-Qaeda because their demand was an end to our way of life.
His comments contradict Prime Minister Gordon Brown's pledge last year that Britain would not negotiate with terrorists.
Mr Browne said his experience convinced him that the West should be willing to have lines of communication open to Islamist extremists.
''There are different varieties of these organisations. There's no question that some of them, if we succeed, will transfer into the political dimension,'' he added.