ZURICH, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow welcomes the historic Armenian-Turkish accords, which will strengthen regional security, the Russian foreign minister said on Saturday.
Turkey and Armenia signed earlier on Saturday historic accords restoring diplomatic relations and opening borders between the two countries.
"We are very pleased," Sergei Lavrov said. "The signing is only the first step, and now it is essential that they be swiftly ratified and implemented."
The documents were signed in Zurich by the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers at a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
The signing was delayed earlier in the day amid speculation that the parties had failed to agree over the wording of final statements.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for Muslim ally Azerbaijan, following a bloody conflict over Nagorny Karabakh between the two ex-Soviet republics. Turkey has also demanded that Yerevan drop its campaign to have the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 internationally recognized as genocide.
Armenia and Turkey agreed to a "roadmap" to normalize their relations under Swiss mediation this April. The draft pact between the countries has been backed by the United States and European Union.
Nagorny Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan with a largely Armenian population, has been a source of conflict between the former Soviet republics since the late 1980s. The province has its own government and is de facto independent.
During his recent international visit, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan met with representatives of Armenian diasporas in different countries, and many of them expressed their opposition to the signing of a Turkish-Armenian agreement.