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Uzbek President's Daughter Appointed Ambassador To Spain

Gulnara Karimova in 2006
Gulnara Karimova in 2006
The Spanish Foreign Ministry says Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, has been named Uzbek ambassador to Spain, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

A Foreign Ministry press spokesman told RFE/RL that Karimova, who has served as Uzbek ambassador to the UN in Geneva since 2008, presented her credentials to the ministry in Madrid on January 18.

An official announcement of the appointment will be made after Karimova submits her credentials to the King Juan Carlos.

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 that he is surprised by the appointment.

He said the decision was likely made because of long-term bilateral economic interests and not due to Spain's holding of the EU Presidency from January 1-June 30.

Karimova, 37, served as a deputy foreign minister and was listed as an adviser to the Uzbek ambassador to Russia from 2003-05.

Karimova is the founder and manager of the Culture and Art Forum of Uzbekistan foundation, which has several offices abroad.

The Swiss magazine "Bilan" reported in December that Karimova has assets in Switzerland of between $570 million-$655 million and is the ninth-richest woman in the country.