THIS is with reference to the editorial ‘Changing Mideast’ (March 18). Full marks to China which succeeded in bringing about rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, arch rivals in the Middle East till recently. If the détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran holds, one of the greatest benefits to the region would be the cessation of hostilities in Yemen.

A broad-based peace between the government and the Houthi rebels helped by Iran may be achieved. China by arranging peace between the two Middle Eastern giants has succeeded in doing something which the United States and European powers were not able to do.

The main reason for China’s success seemed to be its trade relations with the two countries. China’s leverage with Saudi Arabia is the huge amount of crude oil bought from the Saudis by China.

In the case of sanctions-hit Iran, China seemed to be the only lifeline, willing to risk conducting trade with it.

It is now up to China and Saudi Arabia to live up to the expectations of the peace deal, and to open up new opportunities in the region.

We also need to ponder what is in there for Pakistan. We can benefit from this peace deal by improving relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, besides improving the internal situation. This will bring in its wake more trade opportunities for Pakistan which is direly needed in these challenging times.

Akbar Jan Marwat
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2023

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