Benghazi (Libya): Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Monday warned that Libya must beware of the remnants of Muammar Gaddafi's regime, saying his country was "afraid" for the Libyan people.
   
"We are afraid for the Libyan people... the remnants of Gaddafi's regime are still present," Bashir said in the eastern city of Benghazi where the revolt against Gaddafi erupted last February.
   
Bashir, wanted internationally for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, said that these remnants of Gaddafi had benefitted under his regime and so posed threat to the new Libya.
   
"They benefitted from the regime. They stole Libyan money and accumulated it. They are present in and outside Libya. They lost their interests, so be careful of them," said Bashir, on the second day of a visit to Libya.
   
Bashir said Libya was going through a "very critical" period.
   
"All Libyans believe that the issue is over... but the most important part now is to build the state from zero," he said, adding that the new rulers had the task to set up executive and legislative institutions.
   
Bashir, who had uneasy ties with Gaddafi's regime, said in Tripoli on Sunday that Gaddafi's ouster was the "best gift" given to Sudan by Libyans. He has previously claimed that Sudan provided weapons to help oust Gaddafi.    

Gaddafi, who was also wanted by the International Criminal Court for suppressing the revolt against him, poured arms across the border into Darfur and long sought greater influence in Sudan's ravaged western region.
   
Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, strongly criticised Bashir's visit to Libya.    

"Omar al-Bashir is an international fugitive from an arrest warrant for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," Dicker said by telephone from New York on Sunday.
   
"His arrival in Tripoli sends a disturbing signal about NTC's commitment to human rights and the rule of law," he said of the National Transitional Council now ruling Libya.
   
Dicker said the rule of law should take precedence over political ties.
   
"Whatever the political history and ties between the NTC and Omar al-Bashir in the past, respect for human rights, not to mention concerns for hundreds of thousands of Darfur victims, takes priority," he said.

(Agencies)