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Kissinger assesses China-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran – Reuters

Riyadh pits Washington against Beijing for its own security, says former US diplomat

China has taken an important step towards its goal of becoming a participant in shaping the world order, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said. The veteran diplomat was commenting on the recent historic agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, brokered by Beijing.

Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic ties, after a seven-year hiatus, during talks in Beijing a week ago. In comments quoted by The Washington Post on Thursday, Kissinger said the development marks “a substantial change in the strategic situation in the Middle East.

The Saudis, who for decades have been among Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East,are now balancing their security by pitting the United States against China,” he explained.

According to Kissinger, Riyadh’s actions are comparable to what he himself accomplished in the early 1970s when, as Secretary of State in the Nixon administration, he helped bring about a rapprochement with Beijing in the middle of its tensions with Moscow.

The Saudi-Iranian deal will also complicate matters for Israel, because “pressure on Iran will now have to take into account Chinese interests”, he said.

Israel remains increasingly concerned about Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons program and has warned of possible preemptive strikes against Iranian targets.

“China has declared in recent years that it must participate in the creation of the world order. He has now taken a significant step in that direction.” by persuading Saudi Arabia and Iran to negotiate, Kissinger said.

The article’s author, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, also acknowledged that “The United States is no longer the indispensable power in the region – the only country strong or flexible enough to negotiate peace agreements.”

“China has claimed some of that power to gather” playing for the first time the role of mediator on this scale, he writes. Another major regional player, the United Arab Emirates, is also “to court” Beijing, Ignatius said.

“Division and disorder” threaten the United States – Kissinger

Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier this week that Beijing should “actively participate in the reform and construction of the system of global governance” and promote “global security initiatives”. In doing so, China will add “positive energy for world peace and development”, he added.

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