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As EU president for the first six months of 2010, Spain will focus on strengthening relations with Central Asia, one analyst believes.

Jos Boonstra, a senior researcher with the Madrid-based FRIDE think tank and a co-chair of the EU Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) project, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that Spain will focus on dialogue and strengthening relations, rather than criticizing human rights abuses in the
Central Asian states.

Boonstra said that judging by the 2007 Spanish chairmanship of the Orgainization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the country prefers to address problems indirectly, which might have a positive effect.

He said that Spain has particularly good relations with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Boonstra noted that Spain's EU Presidency coincides with Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the OSCE, and that cooperation between the two organizations could bring positive results in relations between the EU and Central Asia.