A conference organised by the Carnegie endowment in the Lebanese capital Beirut has been focusing on what the world's major powers can or should do to confront issues in the Middle East.

Has the US-led Palestinian-Israeli peace initiative run its course? Could China and Russia play a role in creating a more stable region?

In recent months, Russia has hosted Palestinian leaders from both Fatah and Hamas, as well as a state visit by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

Does this flurry of diplomatic activity signal greater Russian involvement in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

For a long time the only track was the road map - and the Obama administration brought back George Mitchell, the man who drew it up in the first place. And yet there has been no discernible progress.

Increasingly the question of Iran has loomed more and more in the equation, and here China is uniquely placed as the one nation that has strong relations with both Israel and Iran.

Could this be turned into a new type of leverage to encourage a regional resolution?

So, is it time for the major powers to play a key role in bringing stability to the region?

Inside Story discusses with guests: Jessica Tuchman Matthews, a member of the US council on foreign relations and the president of the Carnegie endowment; Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow centre and a former senior research fellow at the Nato defence college; and Minxin Pei, a senior associate in the China programme of the Carnegie endowment for international peace and the author of From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, April 19, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera