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While pledging $23 billion in loans and aid, President Xi Jinping told members of the Arab League today that China would like to form a strategic partnership to become "the keeper of peace and stability in the Middle East, the defender of equity and justice, promoter of joint development, and good friends that learn from each other," according to the South China Morning Post.

Why it matters: As Axios' Erica Pandey has reported, China is determined to win influence in the Middle East, largely through its massive Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. And while Beijing has not been shy about developing economic partnerships in the region, Xi's comments signal a new level of political engagement.

The $23 billion includes...

  • $20 billion in loans to stimulate economic development in countries with reconstruction needs
  • $3 billion in special loans for sovereign funds
  • $150 million to support "social stability efforts" in the region
  • $90.6 million in aid to warn-torn countries like Syria and Yemen

Go deeper: China's long game for Middle East influence

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
56 mins ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.