The Middle East - a complex fabric of both hostile and interdependent nations - the perennial focus of international diplomacy which it tends to frustrate rather than satisfy. So, is it time for new thinking, and what role can the world's great powers play?

A conference has been held in Beirut by the Carnegie Middle East centre. Under discussion was the myriad problems of the region and specifically the question of what role the superpowers can play in their resolution.

Are the interests of the US, China and Russia shared, or are they competing? Is a stable Middle East in the interests of all, and what can be done to transform decades of talk into action?

Inside Story discusses with guests: Jessica Tuchman Matthews, the president of the Carnegie Endowment; Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre; and Minxin Pei, a senior associate in the China programme of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, April 18, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera