By Zehra Nur Duz and Mustafa Melih Ahishali
ISTANBUL/ANKARA (AA) - Iran has prepared a proposal for a permanent solution to the Upper-Karabakh conflict, Iranian top diplomat said Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told state television that his deputy, Seyed Abbas Araghchi, will visit Baku and Yerevan in coming days to present the plan to Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities.
Armenia must respect the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, according to Zarif, who said the conflict must be resolved through peaceful diplomatic means.
Araghchi is scheduled to visit Baku, Moscow, Yerevan and Ankara to promote the Iranian initiative, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, according to Iranian official news agency IRNA.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Four UN Security Council resolutions and two by the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the "immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces" from the occupied Azerbaijani territory.
About 20% of Azerbaijan's territory has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.