The European Union yesterday agreed not to table a resolution criticising Beijing's record at next month's meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. EU diplomats said the bloc's foreign ministers made the decision because the mainland had shown more willingness to have a dialogue on human rights. 'In view of the first encouraging results of the EU-China human rights dialogue, the council agreed that neither the EU presidency nor any other member state should table or co-sponsor a draft resolution at the next UN Commission on Human Rights,' the resolution said. The decision came as EU diplomats and their mainland counterparts held a two-day closed-door conference in Beijing. EU Ambassador Endymion Wilkinson rejected criticism that it was window-dressing. 'I don't think this is a propaganda function,' said Mr Wilkinson, who described the conference as a meeting of specialists on human rights. He praised China's 'concerted attempt' to address human rights problems in recent months as enormously heartening but urged it to push ahead quickly with practical reforms, warning that a dialogue without results would soon run out of steam, and would be unacceptable to public opinion in Europe. British Ambassador Anthony Galsworthy said the EU and China now had to focus on the practical implementation of international standards. Hosts at the Beijing meeting included Public Security Ministry deputy director-general Ke Liangdong and deputies from the Ministry of Justice and Chief Prosecutor's Office. About 20 EU delegates will visit a prison today as part of the dialogue. Jean-Paul Barthoz of Human Rights Watch described the EU's latest decision as a 'major step backwards' and accused Britain, which holds the EU presidency, of reneging on a promise to put rights at the centre of its foreign policy. 'The EU's commitment to promoting human rights has been exposed as pure rhetoric,' he said. Although Washington has not announced its withdrawal of support for a resolution on China, observers said it was almost certain now that there would not be a resolution critical of Beijing's rights records at Geneva this year. The shift in the EU's position comes ahead of the first EU-China summit, scheduled to take place in London on the sidelines of a meeting of European and Asian leaders in April.