For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.
Republic of the Sudan
Area: 2.5 million sq. km. (967,500 sq. mi.); the largest country in Africa and almost the size of continental U.S. east of the Mississippi River.
Cities: Capital--Khartoum (pop. 1.4 million). Other cities--Omdurman (2.1 million), Port Sudan (pop. 450,000), Kassala, Kosti, Juba (capital of southern region).
Land boundaries: Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, and Uganda.
Terrain: Generally flat with mountains in east and west. Khartoum is situated at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile Rivers. The southern regions are inundated during the annual floods of the Nile River system (the Suud or swamps).
Climate: Desert and savanna in the north and central regions and tropical in the south.
Nationality: Noun and adjective (sing. and pl.)--Sudanese.
Population (2008 est.): 40,218,456; 30%-33% urban.
Annual growth rate (2004 est.): 2.134%.
Ethnic groups: Arab/Muslim north and black African/Christian and animist south.
Religions: Islam (official), indigenous beliefs (southern Sudan), Christianity.
Languages: Arabic (official), English, tribal languages.
Education: Years compulsory--8. Attendance--35%-40%. Literacy--61%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--86.98/1,000. Life expectancy--50.28 yrs.
Work force: Agriculture--80%; industry and commerce--7%; government--13%.
Independence: January 1, 1956.
Type: Provisional Government established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005 that provides for power sharing pending national elections. The CPA stipulates that national elections are to occur no later than July 2009.
Constitution: The Interim National Constitution was adopted on July 6, 2005. It was drafted by the National Constitutional Review Commission, as mandated by the January 2005 CPA. The Government of Southern Sudan also has a constitution adopted in December 2005; it was certified by the Ministry of Justice to be in conformity with the Interim National Constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Branches: Executive--executive authority is held by the president, who also is the prime minister, head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces; effective July 9, 2005, the executive branch includes a first vice president and a vice president. As stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the first vice president position is held by a person selected by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Legislative--National Legislature. The National Assembly, the lower house, has 450 members with a power-sharing formula which allows the ruling National Congress Party to get 52%; the SPLM, 28%; other Northern and Southern parties, 14% and 6% respectively. There is also an upper house, the Council of States, which is composed of two representatives from each of the nation's 26 states, including two observers from Abyei. Judicial--High Court, Minister of Justice, Attorney General, civil and special tribunals.
Administrative subdivisions: Twenty-six states, each with a governor appointed by the president, along with a state cabinet and a state legislative assembly.
Political parties: Currently there are several political parties in both the nation's north and south. All political parties were banned following the June 30, 1989 military coup. Political associations, which take the place of parties, were authorized in 2000. Some parties are in self-imposed exile.
Central government budget (2007 est.): $9.201 billion.
Defense (2005 est.): 3% of GDP.
Sudan was a collection of small, independent kingdoms and principalities from the beginning of the Christian era until 1820-21, when Egypt conquered and unified the northern portion of the country. However, neither the Egyptian nor the Mahdist state (1883-1898) had any effective control of the southern region outside of a few garrisons. Southern Sudan remained an area of fragmented tribes, subject to frequent attacks by slave raiders.
In 1881, a religious leader named Muhammad ibn Abdalla proclaimed himself the Mahdi, or the "expected one," and began a religious crusade to unify the tribes in western and central Sudan. His followers took on the name "Ansars" (the followers) which they continue to use today and are associated with the single largest political grouping, the Umma Party, led by a descendant of the Mahdi, Sadiq al Mahdi.
Taking advantage of dissatisfaction resulting from Ottoman-Egyptian exploitation and maladministration, the Mahdi led a nationalist revolt culminating in the fall of Khartoum in 1885. The Mahdi died shortly thereafter, but his state survived until overwhelmed by an invading Anglo-Egyptian force under Lord Kitchener in 1898. While nominally administered jointly by Egypt and Britain, Britain exercised control, formulated policies, and supplied most of the top administrators.
In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination. The transitional period toward independence began with the inauguration of the first parliament in 1954. With the consent of the British and Egyptian Governments, Sudan achieved independence on January 1, 1956, under a provisional constitution. This constitution was silent on two crucial issues for southern leaders--the secular or Islamic character of the state and its federal or unitary structure. However, the Arab-led Khartoum government reneged on promises to southerners to create a federal system, which led to a mutiny by southern army officers that launched 17 years of civil war (1955-72).
Until 1969, there was a succession of governments that proved unable either to agree on a permanent constitution or to cope with problems of factionalism, economic stagnation, and ethnic dissidence. These regimes were dominated by "Arab" Muslims who asserted their Arab-Islamic agenda and refused any kind of self-determination for southern Sudan.In May 1969, a group of communist and socialist officers led by Colonel Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiri, seized power. A month after coming to power, Nimeiri proclaimed socialism (instead of Islamism) for the country and outlined a policy of granting autonomy to the South. Nimeiri in turn was the target of a coup attempt by communist members of the government. It failed and Nimeiri ordered a massive purge of communists. This alienated the Soviet Union, which withdrew its support.
Elections were held in April 1986, and a civilian government took over power. There were tentative moves towards negotiating peace with the south. However, any proposal to exempt the south from Islamic law was unacceptable to those who supported Arabic supremacy. In 1989, an Islamic army faction led by General Umar al-Bashir mounted a coup and installed the National Islamic Front. The new government’s commitment to the Islamic cause intensified the North-South conflict.
The Bashir government combined internal political repression with international Islamist activism. It supported radical Islamist groups in Algeria and supported Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Khartoum was established as a base for militant Islamist groups: radical movements and terrorist organizations like Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaida were provided a safe haven and logistical aid in return for financial support. In 1996, the UN imposed sanctions on Sudan for alleged connections to the assassination attempt on Egyptian President Mubarak.Meanwhile, the period of the 1990s saw a growing sense of alienation in the western and eastern regions of Sudan from the Arab center. The rulers in Khartoum were seen as less and less responsive to the concerns and grievances of both Muslim and non-Muslim populations across the country. Alienation from the "Arab" center caused various groups to grow sympathetic to the southern rebels led by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), and in some cases, prompted them to flight alongside it.
The policy of the ruling regime toward the South was to pursue the war against the rebels while trying to manipulate them by highlighting tribal divisions. Ultimately, this policy resulted in the rebels’ uniting under the leadership of Colonel John Garang. During this period, the SPLM/A rebels also enjoyed support from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda. The Bashir government's "Pan-Islamic" foreign policy, which provided support for neighboring radical Islamist groups, was partly responsible for this support for the rebels.
The 1990s saw a succession of regional efforts to broker an end to the Sudanese civil war. Beginning in 1993, the leaders of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya pursued a peace initiative for the Sudan under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), but results were mixed. Despite that record, the IGAD initiative promulgated the 1994 Declaration of Principles (DOP) that aimed to identify the essential elements necessary to a just and comprehensive peace settlement; i.e., the relationship between religion and the state, power sharing, wealth sharing, and the right of self-determination for the south. The Sudanese Government did not sign the DOP until 1997 after major battlefield losses to the SPLA. That year, the Khartoum government signed a series of agreements with rebel factions under the banner of "Peace from Within." These included the Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, and Fashoda Agreements that ended military conflict between the government and significant rebel factions. Many of those leaders then moved to Khartoum where they assumed marginal roles in the central government or collaborated with the government in military engagements against the SPLA. These three agreements paralleled the terms and conditions of the IGAD agreement, calling for a degree of autonomy for the south and the right of self-determination.
End to the Civil War
In July 2002, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A reached an historic agreement on the role of state and religion and the right of southern Sudan to self-determination. This agreement, known as the Machakos Protocol and named after the town in Kenya where the peace talks were held, concluded the first round of talks sponsored by the IGAD. The effort was mediated by retired Kenyan General Lazaro Sumbeiywo. Peace talks resumed and continued during 2003, with discussions focusing on wealth sharing and three contested areas.
Comprehensive Peace Agreement
The 2005 CPA established a new Government of National Unity and the interim Government of Southern Sudan and called for wealth-sharing, power-sharing, and security arrangements between the two parties. The historic agreement provides for a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops from southern Sudan, and the repatriation and resettlement of refugees. It also stipulates that by the end of the six-year interim period, during which the various provisions of the CPA are implemented, there will be elections at all levels, including for president, state governors, and national and state legislatures.
Implemented provisions of the CPA include the formation of the National Legislature, appointment of Cabinet members, establishment of the Government of Southern Sudan and the signing of the Southern Sudan Constitution, and the appointment of state governors and adoption of state constitutions. The electoral law, paving the way for national elections in 2009, was passed in July 2008.
New CPA-mandated commissions have also been created. Thus far, those formed include the National Electoral Commission, Assessment and Evaluation Commission, National Petroleum Commission, Fiscal and Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission, and the North-South Border Commission. The Ceasefire Political Commission, Joint Defense Board, and Ceasefire Joint Military Committee were also established as part of the security arrangements of the CPA.
With the establishment of the National Population Census Council, a population census was conducted in early 2008 in preparation for national elections in 2009. The results from the census are expected in 2009. The CPA mandates that the government hold a referendum at the end of a six-year interim period in 2011, allowing southerners to secede if they so wish. On January 9, 2007, commemoration of the second anniversary of the CPA was held in Juba.
While some progress has been achieved during the last two years, meaningful implementation of key CPA requirements has faltered, and there are still major issues that need to be addressed. Abeyi and the Three Areas remain a point of contention, and more work needs to be done to finalize the North-South border. Also, while much progress has been made toward holding national elections, the pace has been slower than expected, and additional work needs to be done in order to meet the CPA benchmark of 2009 elections. The CPA is the mainstay of peace in Sudan, and the international community is highly invested in making sure it is implemented effectively.
In 2003, while the historic north-south conflict was on its way to resolution, increasing reports began to surface of attacks on civilians, especially aimed at non-Arab tribes in the extremely marginalized Darfur region of Sudan. A rebellion broke out in Darfur, led by two rebel groups--the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). These groups represented agrarian farmers who are mostly non-Arabized black African Muslims. In seeking to defeat the rebel movements, the Government of Sudan increased arms and support to local, rival tribes and militias, which have come to be known as the "Janjaweed." Their members were composed mostly of Arabized black African Muslims who herded cattle, camels, and other livestock. Attacks on the civilian population by the Janjaweed, often with the direct support of Government of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), have led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur, with an estimated 2 million internally displaced people and another 250,000 refugees in neighboring Chad.
On September 9, 2004, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility--and that genocide may still be occurring." President Bush echoed this in July 2005, when he stated that the situation in Darfur was "clearly genocide."
Intense international efforts to solve the crisis got underway, and a cease-fire between the parties was signed in N’Djamena, Chad, on April 8, 2004. However, despite the deployment of an African Union (AU) military mission to monitor implementation of the cease-fire and investigate violations, violence continued. The SLM/A and JEM negotiated with the Government of Sudan under African Union auspices, resulting in an agreement being signed regarding additional protocols addressing the humanitarian and security aspects of the conflict on November 9, 2004. Like previous agreements, however, these were violated by both sides. Talks resumed in Abuja on June 10, 2005, resulting in a July 6 signing of a Declaration of Principles. Further talks were held in the fall and early winter of 2005 and covered power sharing, wealth sharing, and security arrangements. These negotiations were complicated by a split that occurred in SLM/A leadership. The SLM/A now had a faction loyal to Minni Minawi and a faction loyal to Abdel Wahid.
The African Union, with the support of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the U.S., and the rest of the international community, began deploying a larger monitoring and observer force in October 2004. The UNSC had passed three resolutions (1556, 1564, and 1574), all intended to compel the Government of Sudan to rein in the Janjaweed, protect the civilian population and humanitarian participants, seek avenues toward a political settlement to the humanitarian and political crisis, and recognize the need for the rapid deployment of an expanded African Union mission in Darfur. The U.S. has been a leader in pressing for strong international action by the United Nations and its agencies.
A series of UNSC resolutions in late March 2005 underscored the concerns of the international community regarding Sudan's continuing conflicts. Resolution 1590 established the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) for an initial period of six months and decided that UNMIS would consist of up to 10,000 military personnel and up to 715 civilian police personnel. It requested UNMIS to coordinate with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to foster peace in Darfur, support implementation of the CPA, facilitate the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, provide humanitarian demining assistance, and protect human rights. The resolution also called on the Government of Sudan and rebel groups to resume the Abuja talks and support a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Darfur, including ensuring safe access for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Resolution 1591 criticized the Government of Sudan and rebels in Darfur for having failed to comply with several previous UNSC resolutions, for ceasefire violations, and for human rights abuses. The resolution also called on all parties to resume the Abuja talks and to support a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Darfur; it also forms a monitoring committee charged with enforcing a travel ban and asset freeze of those determined to impede the peace process or violate human rights. Additionally, the resolution demanded that the Government of Sudan cease conducting offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region. Finally, Resolution 1593 referred the situation in Darfur to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and called on the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate with the ICC.
Following the UNSC resolutions and intense international pressure, the Darfur rebel groups and the Government of Sudan resumed negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria in early 2006. On May 5, 2006, the government and an SLM/A faction led by Minni Minawi signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). Unfortunately, the conflict in Darfur intensified shortly thereafter, led by rebel groups who refused to sign. In late August government forces began a major offensive on rebel areas in Northern Darfur. On August 30, the Security Council adopted UNSCR 1706, authorizing the transition of AMIS to a larger more robust UN peacekeeping operation. To further facilitate an end to the conflict in Darfur, President Bush announced the appointment of Andrew S. Natsios as the Special Envoy for Sudan on September 19, 2006.In an effort to resolve Sudan’s opposition to a UN force, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and African Union Commission Chair Alpha Oumar Konare convened a meeting of key international officials and representatives of several African and Arab states in Addis Ababa on November 16, 2006. The agreement reached with the Government of Sudan provided for graduated UN support to AMIS culminating in the establishment of a joint ‘hybrid” AU-UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
International efforts in 2007 focused on rallying support for DPA signatory and non-signatory rebel movements to attend renewed peace talks, and on finalizing plans for the joint AU/UN hybrid operation. UN Security Council Resolution 1769 was adopted on July 31, 2007, providing the mandate for a joint AU/UN hybrid force to deploy to Darfur with troop contributions from African countries. The UN African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was to assume authority from AMIS in the field no later than December 31, 2007.
Following the passage of UNSCR 1769, a conference was held August 3-5 in Arusha, Tanzania between key UN and AU officials and delegates from Darfur rebel groups. Many movements’ political and military leaderships were brought into the discussion in preparation for earnest peace talks. Peace talks between the Government of Sudan and rebel factions took place in Sirte, Libya on October 27, 2007. However, limited rebel participation and continuing disagreement about objectives and processes limited the effectiveness of these talks. Following the Sirte talks, the SPLM hosted workshops in Juba, Southern Sudan, to unite the rebel groups and allow them to come together to present a common front during negotiations. The Juba talks led to a consolidation of rebel factions down to five groups from an estimated 27. The U.S. continues to support the efforts of the UN and AU to host workshops for the rebel groups as a foundation for future negotiations. On December 21, 2007 President Bush announced the appointment of Ambassador Richard S. Williamson as Special Envoy for Sudan, following the resignation of Andrew S. Natsios.On July 14, 2008 the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, announced that he was seeking an arrest warrant for President Bashir for allegedly masterminding genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur. On March 4, 2009 the ICC announced that it was issuing an arrest warrant for President Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The three-judge panel that issued the warrant did not feel there was enough evidence to include the crime of genocide on the warrant. However, should new information come to light, the charges can be amended. The mandate for UNAMID was renewed in mid-2008; however, the U.S. abstained on this resolution because it contained a reference to a possible deferral of consideration of Bashir’s case under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, language inserted at the behest of the Government of Sudan by its UN Security Council allies. In order to move quickly to find a solution to the violence in Darfur under the pressure of a possible ICC indictment, Sudan opened the Sudan People’s Initiative in October 2008. The conference brought together many Darfur rebel groups with the government for a conference to explore solutions and how to better implement the existing framework of the DPA. It culminated in the announcement of a unilateral Darfur ceasefire, which was reportedly violated within days of the declaration. Talks in Doha, Qatar, between the Government of Sudan and several Darfuri rebel groups, most notably JEM, began in early 2009. The Doha talks have thus far produced an agreement of goodwill and confidence-building between JEM and the Government of Sudan.
Sudan continues to cope with the countrywide effects of conflict, displacement, and insecurity. During more than 20 years of conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), violence, famine, and disease killed more than 2 million people, forced an estimated 600,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring countries, and displaced approximately 4 million others within Sudan, creating the world's largest population of internally displaced people. Since the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which officially ended the North-South conflict, the UN estimates that nearly 2 million displaced people have returned to Southern Sudan and the Three Areas of Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abeyi.
The conflict in the western region of Darfur entered its fifth year in 2008, despite a 2006 peace agreement--the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)--between the Government of National Unity and one faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, that of Minni Minawi. Fighting among armed opposition group factions, the Sudanese Armed Forces, and militias continues, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians--230,000 since January 2008 alone. The complex emergency in Darfur affects approximately 4.2 million people, including more than 2.5 million internally displaced people in both Sudan and Chad.
The U.S. Government is the leading international donor to Sudan and has contributed more than $5 billion in humanitarian, development, peacekeeping, and reconstruction assistance for the people in Sudan and eastern Chad since 2005, including more than $1 billion in FY 2007 alone. The U.S. Mission in Sudan has declared disasters due to the complex emergency on an annual basis since 1987. On October 16, 2007, U.S. Charge d'Affaires Alberto M. Fernandez renewed the Sudan disaster declaration for FY 2008. The U.S. Government continues to lead the international effort to support implementation of the CPA, while providing for the humanitarian needs of conflict-affected populations throughout the country. U.S. Government humanitarian assistance to Sudan includes food aid, provision of health care, water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as programs for nutrition, agriculture, protection, and economic recovery.Principal Government Officials
Sudan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: (202) 338-8565; fax: (202) 667-2406).
The regional Government of Southern Sudan maintains a liaison office in the United States at 1233 20th St. NW, Suite 602, Washington, DC 20036 (tel: (202) 293-7940; fax: (202) 293-7941).
In 2004, the cessation of major north-south hostilities and expanding crude oil exports resulted in 6.4% GDP growth and a near doubling of GDP per capita since 2003. The aftereffects of the 21-year civil war and very limited infrastructure, however, present obstacles to stronger growth and a broader distribution of income. The country continued taking some steps toward transitioning from a socialist to a market-based economy, although the government and governing party supporters remained heavily involved in the economy.
The country’s transportation facilities consist of 5,978 kilometers of railways, 16 airports with paved runways, and about 11,900 kilometers of paved and gravel road--primarily in greater Khartoum, Port Sudan, and the north. Some north-south roads that serve the oil fields of central/south Sudan have been built; and a 1,400 kilometer. (840 miles) oil pipeline goes from the oil fields via the Nuba Mountains and Khartoum to the oil export terminal in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
Sudan’s limited industrial development consists of agricultural processing and various light industries located in Khartoum North. In recent years, the GIAD industrial complex introduced the assembly of small autos and trucks, and some heavy military equipment such as armored personnel carriers and the proposed "Bashir" main battle tank. Although Sudan is reputed to have great mineral resources, exploration has been quite limited, and the country’s real potential is unknown. Small quantities of asbestos, chromium, and mica are exploited commercially.Extensive petroleum exploration began in the mid-1970s and might cover all of Sudan’s economic and energy needs. Significant finds were made in the Upper Nile region and commercial quantities of oil began to be exported in October 2000, reducing Sudan’s outflow of foreign exchange for imported petroleum products. There are indications of significant potential reserves of oil and natural gas in southern Sudan, the Kordofan region and the Red Sea province.
The Sudan People’s Armed Forces is a 100,000-member army supported by a small air force and navy. Irregular tribal and former rebel militias and Popular Defense Forces supplement the army’s strength in the field. This is a mixed force, having the additional duty of maintaining internal security. During the 1990s, periodic purges of the professional officer corps by the ruling Islamist regime eroded command authority as well as war-fighting capabilities. Indeed, the Sudanese Government admitted it was incapable of carrying out its war aims against the SPLA without employing former rebel and Arab militias to fight in support of regular troops. Additionally, as mandated in the CPA, the Southern Sudanese maintain their own armed forces in the form of the SPLA.
Relations between Sudan and Libya deteriorated in the early 1970s and reached a low in October 1981, when Libya began a policy of cross-border raids into western Sudan. After the 1985 coup in Sudan, the military government resumed diplomatic relations with Libya, as part of a policy of improving relations with neighboring and Arab states. In early 1990, Libya and the Sudan announced that they would seek "unity," but this unity was not implemented.During the 1990s, as Sudan sought to steer a nonaligned course, courting Western aid and seeking rapprochement with Arab states, its relations with the U.S. grew increasingly strained. Sudan’s ties with countries like North Korea and Libya and its support for regional insurgencies such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Eritrean Islamic Jihad, Ethiopian Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Lord’s Resistance Army generated great concern about its contribution to regional instability. Allegations of the government’s complicity in the assassination attempt against the Egyptian President in Ethiopia in 1995 led to UNSC sanctions against the Sudan. By the late 1990s, Sudan experienced strained or broken diplomatic relations with most of its nine neighboring countries. However, since 2000, Sudan has actively sought regional rapprochement that has rehabilitated most of these relations.
Sudan broke diplomatic relations with the U.S. in June 1967, following the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli War. Relations improved after July 1971, when the Sudanese Communist Party attempted to overthrow President Nimeiri, and Nimeiri suspected Soviet involvement. U.S. assistance for resettlement of refugees following the 1972 peace settlement with the south added further improved relations.
On March 1, 1973, Palestinian terrorists of the "Black September" organization murdered U.S. Ambassador Cleo A. Noel and Deputy Chief of Mission Curtis G. Moore in Khartoum. Sudanese officials arrested the terrorists and tried them on murder charges. In June 1974, however, they were released to the custody of the Egyptian Government. The U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan was withdrawn in protest. Although the U.S. Ambassador returned to Khartoum in November, relations with the Sudan remained static until early 1976, when President Nimeiri mediated the release of 10 American hostages being held by Eritrean insurgents in rebel strongholds in northern Ethiopia. In 1976, the U.S. decided to resume economic assistance to the Sudan.
In late 1985, there was a reduction in staff at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum because of the presence in Khartoum of a large contingent of Libyan terrorists. In April 1986, relations with Sudan deteriorated when the U.S. bombed Tripoli, Libya. A U.S. Embassy employee was shot on April 16, 1986. Immediately following this incident, all non-essential personnel and all dependents left for six months. At this time, Sudan was the single largest recipient of U.S. development and military assistance in sub-Saharan Africa. However, official U.S. development assistance was suspended in 1989 in the wake of the military coup against the elected government, which brought to power the National Islamist Front led by General Bashir.
U.S. relations with Sudan were further strained in the 1990s. Sudan backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait and provided sanctuary and assistance to Islamic terrorist groups. In the early and mid-1990s, Carlos the Jackal, Osama bin Laden, Abu Nidal, and other terrorist leaders resided in Khartoum. Sudan’s role in the radical Pan-Arab Islamic Conference represented a matter of great concern to the security of American officials and dependents in Khartoum, resulting in several draw downs and/or evacuations of U.S. personnel from Khartoum in the early-mid 1990s. Sudan’s Islamist links with international terrorist organizations represented a special matter of concern for the U.S. Government, leading to Sudan's 1993 designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and a suspension of U.S. Embassy operations in Khartoum in 1996. In October 1997, the U.S. imposed comprehensive economic, trade, and financial sanctions against the Sudan. In August 1998, in the wake of the East Africa embassy bombings, the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes against Khartoum. The last U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan, Ambassador Tim Carney, departed post prior to this event and no new ambassador has been designated since. The U.S. Embassy is headed by a Charge d’Affaires. The Embassy continues to re-evaluate its posture in Sudan, particularly in the wake of the January 1, 2008, killings of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) employee and his Sudanese driver in Kharotum.
The U.S. and Sudan entered into a bilateral dialogue on counter-terrorism in May 2000. Sudan has provided concrete cooperation against international terrorism since the September 11, 2001, terrorism strikes on New York and Washington. However, although Sudan publicly supported the international coalition actions against the al Qaida network and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the government criticized the U.S. strikes in that country and opposed a widening of the effort against international terrorism to other countries. Sudan remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list.In response to the Government of Sudan’s continued complicity in unabated violence occurring in Darfur, President Bush imposed new economic sanctions on Sudan in May 2007. The sanctions blocked assets of Sudanese citizens implicated in Darfur violence, and also sanctioned additional companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan. Sanctions continue to underscore U.S. efforts to end the suffering of the millions of Sudanese affected by the crisis in Darfur.
Principal U.S. Officials
Charge d'Affaires--Alberto Fernandez
Deputy Chief of Mission--Mark Asquino
USAID Director--Patrick Fleuret
Political-Economic Chief--Jonathan Pratt
Public Affairs Officer--Judith Ravin