U.S. – Sudan Relations

  1. U.S. – Sudan Relations
  2. Sudan Sanctions

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 The U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan was withdrawn in protest.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 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 Khartoum.

The U.S. and Sudan entered into a bilateral dialogue on counterterrorism in May 2000. Sudan has provided concrete cooperation against international terrorism since the September 11, 2001, terrorist 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.

Despite policy differences the U.S. has been a major donor of humanitarian aid to the Sudan throughout the last quarter century. The U.S. was a major donor in the March 1989 “Operation Lifeline Sudan,” which delivered 100,000 metric tons of food into both government and SPLA-held areas of the Sudan, thus averting widespread starvation. In 1991, the U.S. made major donations to alleviate food shortages caused by a two-year drought. In a similar drought in 2000-01, the U.S. and the international community responded to avert mass starvation in the Sudan. In 2001 the Bush administration named a presidential envoy for peace in the Sudan to explore what role the U.S. could play in ending Sudan’s civil war and enhancing the delivery of humanitarian aid. Andrew Natsios and subsequently Ambassador Richard Williamson served as presidential envoys to Sudan during the Bush administration. On March 18, 2009 President Obama announced the appointment of Major General (Ret.) J. Scott Gration as the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan.

On October 19, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, accompanied by Special Envoy Gration and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, announced the Obama administration’s new Sudan strategy. U.S. strategy in Sudan is comprised of three core principles: 1) Achieving a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur; 2) Implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; and 3) Ensuring that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorists.


Accomplishments

America: Helping The People Of Sudan

U.S. Support to the CPA 

  • The U.S. helped broker the historic CPA on January 9, 2005, ending 21 years of civil war.
  • The CPA provides the framework for addressing the grievances of those living in the Sudan and in the other marginalized areas of Eastern Sudan and Darfur.
  • Sudan has witnessed the founding of the GNU; the naming of Salva Kiir, a Southerner, as First Vice President; establishment of the Government of Southern Sudan; the appointment of Southerners as GNU cabinet ministers; founding of many CPA-mandated commissions; and the return of more than half a million displaced people to the South.
  • National elections are a key milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The U.S. supports credible, peaceful, nationwide elections in 2009 as a vehicle to democratic transformation in Sudan.
  • The U.S. is committed to employing a combination of diplomatic and assistance efforts to implement this goal.  In coordination with the UN and other donor governments, the U.S. will offer technical resources and other support to the parties to facilitate elections planning.

U.S. Support to the DPA

  • The U.S. worked with the African Union (AU) to successfully broker an agreement between Sudan’s Government of National Unity (GNU) and the largest rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi, who signed the DPA on May 5, 2006.  At the negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria, the U.S. made every effort to secure the participation of other rebel movements in the DPA.
  • The DPA establishes critical security, wealth-sharing, and power-sharing arrangements that address the long-standing marginalization of Darfur and is an important step on the long road toward reconciliation and healing.
  • The U.S. continues to work hard to ensure that rebel groups who did not sign the DPA are brought on board.  To that end, the U.S. supports the efforts of the UN and the AU to promote dialogue between the Government of Sudan and these non-signatories.
  • The U.S. welcomes the recent appointment of UN-AU Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole, and hopes that he will reinvigorate the peace process to achieve measurable progress on the ground.
  • The unchecked Chad-Sudan cross-border incursions threaten the progress made toward peace.  The increasing insecurity in Eastern Chad is due to both the unstable political situation in the country and the spillover of conflict from Darfur.

U.S. Action through the UN

  • The U.S. is committed to enabling the rapid deployment of 26,000 United Nations-African peacekeepers (UNAMID) to Darfur as authorized by UNSC 1769 on July 31, 2007.  UNAMID subsumed elements of the smaller African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which has been in Darfur since 2004.
  • The U.S. believes the UN and AU should maintain the lead facilitating role in all political negotiations. However, the U.S. recognizes the important interests and roles played by regional actors such as Chad, Libya, Egypt, and Eritrea. The U.S. has also encouraged China to use its influence with Khartoum to work for a peaceful political settlement.

U.S. Support to Peacekeeping

  • The U.S. lent critical support for the transition to the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID).  Since 2004, the U.S. has provided over $450 million for the purchase of vehicles and communication equipment, as well as the construction and maintenance of 34 African Union base camps which were transferred to the U.N.
  • The U.S. is working with the UN and other allies to train these forces and provide them with helicopters, combat engineers, and other equipment that are critical for this mission to be a success.  All told, the U.S. played a leading role on the deployment of the troops, and contributes approximately 25% of UNAMID’s budget.
  • During his February 2008 trip to Africa, President Bush committed an additional $100 million to train and equip African troop-contributing countries to prepare them for their participation in UNAMID.
  • To increase pressure on all parties to end the violence in Darfur, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on seven individuals and more than 160 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan or linked to militia.

U.S. Support to Humanitarian Assistance

  • The U.S. is the largest single donor to Sudan.  The U.S. has provided more than $5 billion in aid to the Sudan and Eastern Chad since 2005.
  • The U.S. funds more than 80% of the World Food Program’s food aid in Sudan and Eastern Chad, reaching approximately 6.5 million people throughout the region.
  • The U.S. funds life-saving humanitarian assistance, providing shelter, health services and relief supplies to Sudan’s most vulnerable people.
  • The U.S. continues to help Southern Sudan rebuild after the devastating two-decade civil war; conducting longer-term development programs in education, health, democracy and governance, and economic growth.
  • The U.S. is the largest single donor to Sudan. The U.S. has provided more than $5 billion in aid to the Sudan and Eastern Chad since 2005. To date, the U.S. has funded more than 80% of the World Food Program’s food aid in Sudan and Eastern Chad, reaching approximately 6.5 million people throughout the region.
  • The U.S. funds life-saving humanitarian assistance, providing shelter, health services and relief supplies to Sudan’s most vulnerable people. The U.S. continues to help Southern Sudan rebuild after the devastating two-decade civil war; conducting longer-term development programs in education, health, democracy and governance, and economic growth.
  • The U.S. lent critical support for the transition to the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID). Since 2004, the U.S. has provided over $450 million for the purchase of vehicles and communication equipment, as well as the construction and maintenance of 34 African Union base camps which were transferred to the U.N. The U.S. is working with the UN and other allies to train these forces and provide them with helicopters, combat engineers, and other equipment that are critical for this mission to be a success. All told, the U.S. played a leading role on the deployment of the troops, and contributes approximately 25% of UNAMID’s budget.
  • During his February 2008 trip to Africa, President Bush committed an additional $100 million to train and equip African troop-contributing countries to prepare them for their participation in UNAMID.
  • To increase pressure on all parties to end the violence in Darfur, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on seven individuals and more than 160 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan or linked to militia.
  • In January 2008, President Bush confirmed the appointment of Ambassador Richard S. Williamson as his Special Envoy to Sudan in order to energize diplomatic solutions to the Darfur crisis.
  • Ambassador Williamson has made the deployment of UNAMID forces a priority. Ambassador Williamson, along with other elements of the U.S. government, is also pushing for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and a final resolution to the Abyei dispute. He is leading efforts to seek dialogue with all Sudanese parties and promote political settlement to conflicts in Sudan, including in Darfur.
  • Ambassador Williamson and his Canadian counterpart, Douglas Scott Proudfoot, have established a group known as the “Friends of UNAMID” to provide support and pressure on the UN, Sudan, and troop-contributing countries to strengthen the mission and hasten deployment.

(Rev. July 2008)