"If the US government does not take action that it must take, we will go to the United Nations and Organisation of American States to denounce the US government," the Venezuelan leader said on Sunday as he addressed participants at talks on a social charter for the Americas.

He added he believed that by failing to act against Robertson, the United States was "giving protection to a terrorist, who is demanding the assassination of a legitimate president".

Robertson caused a diplomatic stir last Monday when he said on the air that if Chavez believed the United States was trying to kill him, "I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it".

Robertson apologised on Wednesday, but then went on to compare Chavez to Saddam Hussein and to suggest the US could one day be at war with his oil-rich country.

Extradition threat

Twice-elected Chavez, a close ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro, has often said Washington would like to assassinate him, and accuses the Bush administration of involvement in a coup d'etat that toppled him for 47 hours in April 2002.

Chavez blamed the US for a 2002
coup that toppled him for 47 hours

The Venezuelan president said he had already instructed his foreign minister and the country's ambassador in Washington to begin the process in the international bodies.

He said Venezuela could use international treaties and conventions to demand the extradition of the television preacher.

Chavez said Robertson "should be sent to prison to serve as an example for the entire world".

Jesse Jackson support

Meanwhile, visiting US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson lent his support to Chavez, saying Robertson's remarks were "repugnant, immoral, illegal".

Addressing the Venezuelan National Assembly, Jackson called for the US Justice Department to investigate the statement.

Jesse Jackson said the remarks
were 'repugnant, immoral, illegal'

Jackson, on a three-day visit to Venezuela to meet Chavez, politicians and community leaders, also called on US President George Bush to issue "a swift rejection" of Robertson's statement.

"It must be unequivocally clear that such a heinous act is not desirable nor designed nor planned. We must use power to reduce tensions, reduce the rhetoric of our threats," Jackson said.

The US State Department sought to distance itself from Robertson last week, calling his remarks "inappropriate" but pointing out that the evangelist spoke as a "private citizen".

The department also said that US ambassador in Caracas William Brownfield had been in contact with a Venezuelan government official over the remarks.