The Bush administration wants talks with Russia soon on proposals to limit strategic nuclear warheads and address Moscow''s concerns about a U.S. missile shield in Europe, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

With just over two months left in the Bush administration, acting under secretary of state for arms control, John Rood, told reporters, "We are looking forward to a robust dialogue with the Russians."

U.S. relations with Russia plunged to a post-Cold War low during George W. Bush''s presidency, especially after the Russian military intervention in U.S. ally Georgia in August. Moscow says selfish U.S. foreign policy sparked the war in Georgia.

Rood said he was working to schedule a date to discuss the U.S. proposals with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, probably in Moscow. "We are planning to meet in the near term, in the next couple of weeks."

But one U.S. arms control expert said the Bush administration, which leaves office on January 20, was running out of both the time and influence it needs to strike an arms deal.

The Russians "will wait and see what the next administration (of President-elect Barack Obama) has to offer," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Washington sent Moscow a proposal more than two weeks ago for a follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 1991 that set ceilings on the size of the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals but expires in December 2009, Rood said.