The United States established diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1956 following its independence from joint administration by Egypt and the United Kingdom. From 1967-1972, US-Sudan relations were stalled until 1972 when it was reestablished despite the United States’ tense relations in 1993, which led to the suspension of U.S. embassy operations in 1996. In 2002, the U.S. embassy was reopened. The United States continues to work with the Sudanese government, civil society, and other stakeholders to strengthen the bilateral relations. In 2017, the United States formally revoked longstanding sanctions against the Sudan, and as the Sudan Embassy is located in Washington DC, the US embassy located in Khartoum.
The Embassy is established to represent the Government of the Republic of the Sudan, Sudanese nationals and assist US stakeholders to visit or invest in the Sudan. With US-Sudan bilateral relations strengthening, “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. 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 internally displaced people.
Since 2011, the United States has maintained a positive balance of trade in goods with Sudan. With small yet growing amount of bilateral trade with cereals and machinery being the two export categories of goods and vegetable extracts and syrup and arts and antiques being the top two import categories of goods. 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 and the United States enjoy a long history of friendship and cooperation. Though numerous instances to demonstrate this fact can be cited, perhaps most worth recalling is the humanitarian assistance the U.S. has in the past rendered during catastrophic periods of famine and drought in the country. Amongst the latest of such achievements is the peace the U.S. helped broker in 2005 that effectively ended the longest-running civil war in Africa. Sudan, for its part, has been instrumental in the U.S. war on terrorism, a contribution for which the latter has on numerous occasions expressed gratitude. These are but a few examples of fruitful interactions that characterize the cordial bilateral relations between the countries. Yet this legacy and potential for gainful cooperation is offset by the policies that the successive U.S. administrations have pursued towards Sudan.
President Trump’s inauguration ushered in a new US policy that seemingly marked a clear departure from the hostile posture of its predecessors. It appeared to place emphasis on conciliatory diplomacy. By and large, the Trump administration seems to be sensitive to the realities on the ground in Sudan, and understanding of the Sudanese perspective on regional issues. The October 2017 executive order by President Trump lifting sanctions on Sudan led to increased promise that other contentious issues could be resolved, such as Sudan’s presence on the list of states sponsoring terrorism and sub-optimal bilateral relations.
The lifting of unilateral sanctions on Sudan in October 2017 by President Trump, imposed since 1993 following the country’s placement on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, promised to reset economic relations between the US and Sudan and increase trade between the two countries. Technical, cultural and scientific exchanges suddenly appeared more possible than they had in a generation, while mutually beneficial economic cooperation appear likely to restart.
The U.S. legislature/Congress
The relationship between U.S. lawmakers of both parties and the people and government of the Sudan is reaching an all-time high, as a sense of mutual respect and understanding is fostered as never before. The legacy of past misunderstandings between the U.S. Legislative Branch and the Sudanese government have been replaced by an unprecedented willingness to cooperate on a wide range of regional issues, ranging from counter-terrorism to African economic development.
The Embassy, for its part, continues to actively engage with Congress in order to provide its members with solid and verifiable facts on Sudan. The Embassy is here to serve all stakeholders interested to engage with the Sudan.