ABC News’ Jennifer Duck Reports: While President Bush was giving his final address as president to the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was smiling and waving to U.S. journalists who were situated in a booth many feet above the gathered audience of world leaders.
The Iranian president waved a number of times to members of the White House press corps who were nearly 100 yards away on the opposite side of the room. At one point during the speech the Iranian leader gestured with a thumbs-down to the leader on his right.
President Bush refuses to sit down with the Ahmadinejad who in the past has said Israel should be “wiped off the map” and has called the Holocaust a “myth.”
In his address, President Bush stressed the need to “remain vigilant against proliferation” and specifically called on enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
“Nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are actively pursuing the terrorists,” Bush said. “A few nations — regimes like Syria and Iran — continue to sponsor terror. Yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they’re growing more isolated from the world.”
Ahmadinejad later addressed the Assembly saying Iran will not abandon its nuclear ambitions as has been repeatedly demanded by the United Nations Security Council.
"The Iranian nation is for dialogue but it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands," Ahmadinejad said.
With the U.S. economy in turmoil, President Bush attempted to assure the world that Congress and the administration are “working together to quickly pass legislation" to stabilize the rocky markets.
“In recent weeks we’ve taken bold steps to prevent a severe disruption of the American economy, which would have a devastating affect on other economies around the world,” Bush said. “I’m confident we will act in urgent time frame required."
On timing of economic legislation, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto ruled out the possibility that Congress would fail to act on the legislation this week.
“I think you should think of that as unthinkable,” Fratto told reporters. “I think we are all arm-in-arm focused on the need to get it done.”