Britain is trying to solve the boat-people issue before the handover, seeking greater co-operation with Hanoi. Foreign Office envoy David Dain yesterday told senior Vietnamese officials he wanted 'swift acceleration' in the repatriation of all of Hong Kong's boat people. Mr Dain and Hong Kong Refugees Co-ordinator Brian Bresnihan made the demand in meetings with the Foreign Ministry to smooth the way for next month's visit of Jeremy Hanley, minister for Hong Kong affairs. 'Great acceleration is needed, and I am confident we are making progress,' Mr Dain said. 'We want to develop the relationship and so do the Vietnamese, so it's important we work together to solve the issue.' Mr Dain refused to go into detail on the half-day sessions, but Foreign Office sources close to the talks believed agreement was close. The British Government remained 'hopeful of clearing the camps before mid-1997,' the chief factor in its boat-people policies. Prime Minister John Major received firm pledges of help during his recent meeting with Vietnam's premier Vo Van Kiet, but senior diplomats have long feared constant bureaucratic hold-ups with Hanoi on daily returns. The visit of Mr Hanley and under-secretary Mr Dain mark a gesture to ensure goodwill. 'Co-operation with Hanoi is now at a high level, but we are making these visits as a pre-emptive strike . . . we want to make sure nothing gets in the way of success,' one source said. It is understood they appealed to the head of Vietnam's consular office, Bui Hong Phuc, for Hanoi to take back all 19,000 people left in Hong Kong - even those it does not consider nationals. About 200 have been rejected on nationality.