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New Senate Foreign Relations head to 'closely examine' new Cuba policy

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[December 18, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Bob Corker, who will lead the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the new Congress, said on Wednesday he wanted to know more about what Cuba would do in return for any shift in U.S. policy and will "closely examine" the issue.

"The new U.S. policy announced by the administration is no doubt sweeping, and as of now there is no real understanding as to what changes the Cuban government is prepared to make. We will be closely examining the implications of these major policy changes in the next Congress," Corker said in a statement.

Several other senators who take a harder line on Cuba's Communist government, including Democrat Robert Menendez, have strongly denounced plans for changes in U.S. policy and the exchange of Cuban prisoners for aid worker Alan Gross.

Corker will replace Menendez as chairman of the panel when the new Republican-majority Senate is seated next month.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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