Although Putin and Trump did not have a separate meeting, the presidents of Russia and the United States succeeded in agreeing a joint statement that contains wording that Russia wants – protection of territorial integrity in Syria.
The two presidents agreed to get through with the fight against the Islamic State, agree on the division of the country to “de-escalated areas” or, in other words, influence areas but it has been announced that they will not divide Syria.
At least, not now. It is possible that in case of a different outcome of the referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan Putin and Trump would have another agreement. For the time being they have decided not to prevent each other from strengthening their foothold in the Near East without changing the state borders.
Putin could not hide his happiness while telling about the agreement with Trump. Of course, it is not clear what Russia has given in return for this. It is not accidental that the foreign minister of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin stated on the same day that the draft resolution on stationing peacekeepers in Donbas is ready. It is reportedly 20,000 international peacekeepers who will be stationed at the border with Russia and Ukraine in spite of Moscow.
It is only possible to guess the reason for “territorial” freezing. This is the intensifying conflict between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and the U.S. plans to resolve the Palestinian issue. Some eastern analysts suppose that they intend to resolve the Palestinian issue in prejudice of the Sinai in Egypt, not in prejudice of Israel. And the settlement of the Palestinian issue may mark the start of a new order in the Near East.
However, this is for future. Without a lasting solution freezing may also await Karabakh. Over the past few weeks there were leaks that Putin and Erdogan decided to meet in Sochi on November 13 and “resolve” the Karabakh issue. The subject is territorial concessions, Azerbaijan’s membership to the EEU, some plan on Russian peacekeepers.
However, a few days before Vienna there was a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council where the United States, Russia, the EU and Armenia surprisingly expressed similar opinions. All the sides announced about enlarging the OSCE mission office in Karabakh and an investigative mechanism in the conflict area.
These mechanisms, if put in place, will indicate rejection of military actions, freezing the situation and allowing to continue the negotiations in the context of global agreements on the new world order.
The OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna has, actually, closed the way of separate agreements between Putin and Erdogan to which Armenia could agree. It is not accidental that the Azerbaijani press has almost ignored the speeches in the OSCE Permanent Council. Perhaps Baku breathed in relief because if the Erdogan-Putin plan is agreed, the region may face a long period of instability.
No doubt Putin and Erdogan could agree separately and even force Armenia to make statements but the tough positions of the U.S. and EU are evidence that the world capitals understand this opportunity and have plans to prevent such developments.