The bitterness and recriminations fuelled by the failure of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Cancun summit last year are beginning to lift, with the restarted Doha Development Round agricultural talks making slow but steady progress.

Talking to, participating diplomats based their qualified optimism on agreed objectives and timetables, genuine political commitment, an absence of previously widespread cynicism and a better appreciation of WTO officials’ work.

They said there was no evidence that the talks were blocked, as they worked towards agreeing principles on market access and domestic support this summer. This chink of light is the first good news emerging from the talks since the EU and the US agreed a common approach on agriculture before Cancun last September.