European leaders have rejected the suggestion of a peace deal apparently offered by the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

An audiotape said to be from Osama bin Laden proposed a truce with European countries which refrained from aggression towards Muslims and pulled their troops out of the Muslim world. The truce was not extended to the United States.

But the European Commission President, Romano Prodi, has said there is no possibility of accepting the offer.

British, Spanish, German, French and Italian representatives have labelled the idea 'absurd' and 'unthinkable'.

The tape containing the alleged bin Laden message was broadcast by the Dubai-based Arabic television station, al Arabiyah.

The voice on the tape also vowed to avenge last month's killing by Israel of the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.