U.S. Relations With Sudan

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
May 14, 2018


More information about Sudan is available on the Sudan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-SUDAN RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1956, following its independence from joint administration by Egypt and the United Kingdom. Sudan broke diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 after the start of the Arab-Israeli War. Relations were reestablished in 1972. Sudan established links with international terrorist organizations resulting in the United States’ designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 and the suspension of U.S. Embassy operations in 1996. The U.S. Embassy was reopened in 2002.

The United States played a key role in helping negotiate the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Sudan and Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) that laid the groundwork for South Sudan's 2011 independence referendum and secession. Several disputes between Sudan and South Sudan remain unresolved post-independence, including border demarcation and the status of the Abyei region. The United States supports the efforts of the African Union (AU) to help the countries work through these issues. Another issue unresolved by the CPA was the status within Sudan of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states – the “Two Areas.” Popular consultations called for in the CPA were precluded by the resumption of military action against the SPLM-North in those states. The SPLM-N and the Government of Sudan have not resolved the conflict in the Two Areas.

In 2003, non-Arabs in the western region of Darfur, who since 1990 have accused the government of systematic discrimination, marginalization, and oppression, rebelled against the government, protesting decades of political and economic neglect. The government responded with brutal force, including the use of Arab militias known as Janjaweed. In the ensuing conflict, more than 300,000 people were killed. To date, the conflict in Darfur has affected 4.7 million people, including more than 1.76 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in need of humanitarian assistance. The United States characterized the government and affiliated militia attacks on civilians in 2004 as genocide, and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir faces two International Criminal Court arrest warrants for his role in the Darfur conflict. Violence and opportunistic criminality undermine prospects for a sustainable peace in Darfur. A process aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace continues under both the AU-United Nations (UN) Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the AU High Implementation Panel. The United States remains the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Darfur. In FY2017 and FY2018 the United States provided over $203 million for humanitarian assistance.

In mid-2011, following South Sudan's independence, conflict broke out between the government and the SPLM-N in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, Sudan’s Two Areas. The ongoing conflict has severely affected or displaced more than 1.1 million people within the Two Areas and caused more than 300,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

U.S. policy in Sudan is focused on ensuring that Sudan does not provide support to or a safe haven for international terrorists; achieving a definitive end to gross human rights abuses and conflicts, including in the Darfur region and the states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan; and encouraging an open and inclusive political dialogue, to address the real causes of Sudan’s persistent internal conflicts. Recent unilateral cessations of hostilities have contributed to a significant reduction in major military confrontation, but neither side has signed a ceasefire agreement and large humanitarian needs remain. There are ongoing international efforts to bring the parties involved in the conflict to an agreement to determine modalities for monitoring a ceasefire and to forge a mutually agreeable path for participating in an inclusive political process, building on “the National Dialogue”. In late 2015, the government launched the National Dialogue process with the stated aim of resolving conflicts throughout the country by forming an inclusive “Government of National Accord” that would include political opposition parties and armed opposition groups involved in a shared political process. That process is intended to determine a framework for a new constitution. However, many of the major opposition groups have boycotted the process due to their doubts about the government’s commitment to genuine dialogue, peacebuilding, and an environment free of political repression. Nonetheless, the government continues to implement the recommendations of its National Dialogue with groups that participated, while maintaining that the process remains open to groups that have boycotted it thus far. The United States continues to work with the Sudanese government, civil society, and other stakeholders to create a consensus around a permanent cessation of hostilities, a durable political dialogue that is able to create the conditions for viable, inclusive presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2020, and the drafting of a new constitution.

U.S. Assistance to Sudan

In the face of widespread humanitarian needs caused by conflict, displacement, and natural disasters, the United States has been a major donor of humanitarian aid to the people of Sudan throughout the last quarter century. The United States has declared disasters in Sudan due to complex emergencies each year since 1987. As the largest international donor of humanitarian aid in Sudan, the United States continues to provide impartial, needs-based assistance to all accessible areas and populations, including displaced and otherwise conflict-affected people, individuals living in camp for IDPs, local communities hosting IDPs, and formerly displaced returnees. The United States supports democratic development in Sudan, as well as a transition from emergency assistance to development assistance where conditions and security allow.

Bilateral Economic Relations

As the result of an intensive bilateral effort focused on achieving progress by Sudan in five key areas of engagement (countering terrorist groups, ending the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, ending the government’s offensive internal military operations, ending Sudan’s destabilizing role in South Sudan, and improving humanitarian access), on January 13, 2017, the United States announced the broad lifting of certain longstanding sanctions against Sudan. On October 12, 2017, the United States formally revoked those sanctions and therefore authorized all activities prohibited by Executive Orders 13067 (1997) and 13412 (2006). As a result, U.S. persons are generally able to transact with individuals and entities in Sudan, and the property of the Government of Sudan subject to U.S. jurisdiction has been unblocked. The changes made by the U.S. government in October 2017 do not impact Sudanese individuals or entities blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13400 (2006), and the property and interests in property of persons designated pursuant to Executive Order 13400 remain blocked. In addition, these changes did not eliminate the need to comply with all other applicable provisions of law, including the Export Administration Regulations (15C.F.R. parts 730 through 774) administered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Individuals should contact the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or BIS for additional information.

The United States and Sudan have a small amount of bilateral trade. Sudan is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.

Bilateral Representation

There currently is no U.S. Ambassador to Sudan; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List. Sudan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 338-8565.

More information about Sudan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Sudan Country Page
U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Sudan Page
U.S. Embassy
USAID Sudan Page
History of U.S. Relations With Sudan
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel Information