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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Venezuela seeks action in US row
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez is an outspoken critic of the US
Venezuela's president says his government will take legal action against a US TV evangelist who called for US agents to kill him.

Hugo Chavez said Venezuela might even seek to extradite Pat Robertson. He also warned he would complain to the UN if the US failed to take action.

Mr Robertson has apologised for his comments, which came amid already tense US-Venezuela relations.

On Sunday, US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson lent support to Mr Chavez.

On a visit to Venezuela, Mr Jackson denounced Mr Robertson's assassination call as immoral and illegal.

He called on the US Justice Department to investigate the matter.

The US State Department has called Mr Robertson's comments "inappropriate".

Extradition

"I announce that my government is going to take legal action in the United States... to call for the assassination of a head of state is an act of terrorism," Mr Chavez said in a televised speech.

"If the US government does not take action that it must take, we will go to the United Nations and the Organization of American States to denounce the US government," Mr Chavez said.

Mr Chavez, who has frequently charged that the US are plotting to kill him, said Mr Robertson was "crazy" and "a public menace".

On Sunday, Rev Jackson said the US and Venezuela should work out their differences through diplomacy.

Diplomatic tension

Mr Robertson's comments came amid tense relations between Caracas and Washington.

President Chavez is a regular critic of Washington, which regards the left-wing leader as a possible source of instability in the region.

The Venezuelan leader has said that US President George W Bush will be to blame if he is attacked.

A week ago, Pat Robertson told viewers of his influential TV show, the 700 Club, that the US should act on Mr Chavez's recurrent complaints that the US was allegedly trying to assassinate him.

The two nations have recently broken off co-operation on combating illegal drugs, though America still buys Venezuelan oil. The nation is the world's fifth-largest producer.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
US government responds to Mr Robertson's assassination call



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