Armenian foreign minister to travel to Washington for NATO summit

German Foreign Minister Baerbock visits Armenia

TBILISI (Reuters) - Armenia's foreign minister will travel to Washington on July 9-10 during the NATO summit, his ministry said on Monday, as the country, once a top Russian ally, seeks to build closer ties with the West.

"Minister (Ararat) Mirzoyan will take part in an event with NATO partners on the sidelines of the NATO summit, as well as in other events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the organisation. Bilateral meetings are also planned," a spokesperson for the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.

The NATO summit kicks off in the U.S. capital on Tuesday.

Armenia is not a member, belonging instead to the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation alliance.

Until recently Russia's closest ally in the South Caucasus region, Yerevan has increased ties with Western countries as its relations with Moscow have soured over what Armenia sees as Russia's failure to defend it from neighbouring Azerbaijan.

Armenia's defence ministry said on Saturday it would hold joint military exercises with the United States in Armenia on July 15-24, focusing on tasks related to peacekeeping missions.

Last week Washington postponed exercises planned for this month in Georgia, Armenia's neighbour, long a close U.S. ally but lately seen orienting closer to Moscow.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Peter Graff)