Britain said Wednesday it was prepared to engage in direct contacts with the political wing of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which became part of a national unity government last year.
London has had no official talks with Hezbollah since 2005, and last July added its military wing to a blacklist of designated terrorist groups.
"We have reconsidered the position ... in light of more positive developments within Lebanon," Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell told a parliamentary committee. "For that reason we have explored establishing contacts."
He said he was referring to the formation in July last year of a unity government in which Hezbollah and its allies in the opposition hold effective veto power, as agreed under a deal that ended a paralyzing political conflict in the country.
"We will look to have further discussions and our overriding objective within that is to press Hezbollah to play a more constructive role, particularly to move away from violence," Rammell 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."
He said Britain would only establish direct dialogue with Palestinian Hamas once it signed up to internationally recognized commitments, he said, which included recognizing the right of Israel to exist and rejecting violence.
Hezbollah has political and military wings and provides social, medical and reconstruction services. It is highly centralized and all members undergo military training.
Rammell said a delegation of British opposition Conservative legislators held talks recently with a Lebanese parliamentary committee that included one Hezbollah member. The British ambassador to Lebanon was present at that meeting.
The move could also be significant because Britain, the United States and other Western powers are locked in a dispute with Iran, Hezbollah's backer, over its nuclear program.
The powers accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran says it only wants nuclear energy.
Lebanon is due to hold parliamentary polls in June which are expected to be a tight contest between anti-Syrian factions and a Hezbollah-led alliance.