A NEW expert group on the handover ceremonies will start work soon, according to sources in London. The proposal for such a group - to be led by the two Joint Liaison Group ambassadors Hugh Davies and Zhou Jihua - came from the Hong Kong Government side and was agreed at the London talks. Its other members and when it will meet will be decided in the territory with a large input from the Government. The British Government does not possess experts on handover ceremonies and there is no suggestion officials who organised earlier colonial departures will be involved in the June 30, 1997, ceremonies which, as Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said, would be 'solemn, grand and decent'. Although the Hong Kong Government has put together many of its own ideas under the guidance of Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, the new group seems likely to dwell on the protocol of the ceremonies. This will ensure that neither Britain nor China is offended. The agreement for closer co-operation also means military handover talks between the British Garrison in Hong Kong and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) have moved a step closer. The garrison hinted yesterday it was waiting for the go-ahead for advanced discussions between the British military and the PLA, which have been limited to low-key visits through the Joint Liaison Group. 'We would hope that the agreement would lead to a closer relationship with Chinese military authorities,' said garrison public relations director Roger Goodwin. 'As we have said many times in the past, we very much look forward to that time.' Commander British Forces Hong Kong Major-General Bryan Dutton is known to be anxious to begin talks with counterparts across the border and start tackling the major points of the military handover. A direct invitation by General Dutton to the PLA is now believed a strong possibility, although officially no such approach is planned. Key issues to be discussed include the handing over of military sites, the establishment of an advance PLA party, and the details of the handover.