U.S. Relations With Sudan

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
March 31, 2017

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.


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 international efforts of the African Union 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 SPLMN and the Government of Sudan have not resolved the conflict.

In 2003, non-Arabs in Darfur, who since 1990 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 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in need of humanitarian assistance. 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-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the African Union High Implementation Panel. The United States remains the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Darfur. In FY2014 and FY2015 we provided over $88 million for humanitarian assistance.

Fighting in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, Sudan’s “Two Areas,” began in mid-2011 between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North. The conflict has severely affected or displaced more than 1.1 million people within the Two Areas and caused more than 234,000 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 Darfur, 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. Efforts also continue to bring both sides to an agreement on the modalities for monitoring a ceasefire and concluding a National Dialogue process. The National Dialogue process is intended to resolve conflicts throughout the country and determine a framework for a new constitution; however, many of the major opposition groups have boycotted the process, as many doubted the Government’s commitment to genuine dialogue and peacebuilding. 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, 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. This measure, which became effective on January 17, 2017, authorized all activities prohibited by Executive Orders 13067 (1997) and 13412 (2006). As a result, U.S. persons will generally be able to transact with individuals and entities in Sudan, and the property of the Government of Sudan subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be unblocked. Also on January 13, 2017, the President issued. Executive Order 13761, which provides for the revocation of the sanctions provisions in Executive Orders 13607 and 13412 on July 12, 2017, if the Government of Sudan sustains the positive actions in the five key areas previously described. The changes made by the U.S. Government in January 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.

Sudan's Membership in International Organizations

Sudan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Sudan also is an observer to the World Trade Organization.

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