18:45 GMT05 December 2020
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    In an interview with Sputnik, Russian expert Alexander Domrin commented on US President Donald Trump's first foreign tour, during which he will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican; these picks indicate Trump's drive to stick to showy rather than effective policy gestures, Domrin said.

    Last week, US President Donald Trump announced that the itinerary for his first overseas trip since taking office will include Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. The tour is due to kick off on May 19.

    Describing the itinerary as "non-typical," the Russian newspaper Izvestia suggested that Trump intends to stage a kind of political show by visiting the centers of the three world religions.

    The newspaper recalled in this regard that Trump's predecessors — George W. Bush and Barack Obama — made their first visits as US President to Mexico and Canada, respectively.

    Izvestia also said that it is too early to speak of the White House expanding upon a clear-cut foreign policy strategy.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Alexander Domrin, a US affairs expert with the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics, described Donald Trump as a person whose choice is difficult to predict.

    "It is a very interesting choice and it is a very symbolic set of countries in which the American President will be on his official visit. These are the centers of the three world religions. But Trump is still a businessman, not a priest who is going to visit holy places. This is why the talks will not focus on respect for these religions," Domrin said.

    He added that when in Israel, Trump will almost surely discuss the normalization of Palestinian-Israeli relations, especially given that the US leader recently met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    "Of course, it is an open wound that pleases no one," Domrin said referring to Israel, Palestine and the United States, which he said should be "really serious about the normalization of mutual ties in this Middle Eastern hot spot."

    At the same time, Domrin said that President Trump is still trying to adhere to spectacular rather than effective gestures when it comes to his foreign policy.

    "Showy and effective are different words and in this vein, Trump has so far been able to make showy gestures. Although he has yet to become an effective president, he should be given an opportunity to show himself in this capacity," the Russian expert concluded.

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