The meeting took place on the central US Congress premises, on top of Capitol Hill.
Mr Putin greeted the American legislators before the meeting, and said he would like to complement his good relations with President Bush with equally warm relations with the Congress.
Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that it was a great honour for the House to receive the Russian President in the Capitol, and spoke for all-round development of the bilateral dialogue. Senate Democratic Majority leader Tom Daschle fully agreed with him. The influential Senator thanked Mr Putin for friendly partnership.
150 Congressmen appealed to President Bush the day before for closer ties with Russia. They said in their message that Russian-US contacts were not to be limited to security and anti-missile defence. The authors, who represented both Republicans and Democrats, spoke for closer links with Russia in culture, the economy, energy, the law, science and technology, agriculture, combat against terrorism, and the space effort.
Titled “New Times New Undertakings”, the letter called to assist Russia as it was seeking to join the World Trade Organisation—an initiative for which Mr Putin thanked its authors.
Taking part in the meeting on the host side were Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican and Democratic Congress and Senate majority leaders—Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, Richard Armey and Richard Gephardt, and heads of the principal Congressional and Senate committees.