The Undersecretary of State John Bolton has begun talks in Moscow aimed at convincing Russia to sign onto the U.S. initiative on halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Bolton met first with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kisylak, who is in charge of nonproliferation issues.

The top U.S. official on arms control also has meetings scheduled with Russia's Atomic Energy Minister, Alexander Rumyantsev, and officials of several Russian agencies dealing with nonproliferation.

Mr. Bolton, who is a frequent visitor in Moscow, is expected to focus his latest visit on efforts to bring Russia into an international alliance of countries working to halt the trade in components of weapons of mass destruction.

President Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative last May and, since then 16 countries have thrown their support behind it.

In addition, Mr. Bolton is expected to discuss North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs and the reduction of both countries' strategic nuclear arsenals.