U.S. Relations With South Sudan

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
October 6, 2016

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


The United States recognized South Sudan as a sovereign, independent state on July 9, 2011 following its secession from Sudan. The United States played a key role in helping create the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that laid the groundwork for the 2011 referendum on self-determination, through which the people of South Sudan overwhelmingly voted for independence. Several disputes between Sudan and South Sudan remain unresolved post-independence, including demarcation of the border, status and rights of the citizens of each country in the other, and the status of the Abyei region. The United States supports the efforts of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to help the parties work through these issues. On December 15, 2013, longstanding political tensions between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar erupted into widespread violence with devastating implications for the South Sudanese people. The United States supported the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in its mediation efforts between the parties, which resulted in the signing of the Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) in August 2015. In April 2016 Riek Machar returned to Juba and, under the terms of the ARCSS, participated in the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity. Progress on implementation of the agreement was slow, and on July 8, 2016, fighting broke out between forces loyal to Kiir and forces loyal to Machar. Machar once again fled Juba and was replaced as First Vice President by his former chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai. As of October 2016, there is fighting in various parts of the country, although not at the level seen during the height of the conflict that began in 2013. Prospects for restarting implementation of the peace agreement are uncertain.

U.S. Assistance to South Sudan

The U.S. Government is the leading international donor to South Sudan, and provides significant humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese citizens displaced or otherwise affected since the start of the crisis in December 2013. The U.S. Government helps to provide basic services to citizens; to promote effective, inclusive, and accountable governance; to diversify the economy; and to combat poverty. Increasing stability in South Sudan will require strengthening core institutions and governance processes to make them more inclusive, responding to the expectations of the population for essential services and improved livelihoods, and containing conflicts and addressing the grievances behind them.

In addition, Sudanese refugees continue to flee to South Sudan due to ongoing fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The United States is committed to meeting the humanitarian needs of these refugees, and has urged the international community to join it in efforts to relieve suffering and assist those affected by the ongoing violence.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States has no significant trade with South Sudan.

South Sudan's Membership in International Organizations

With independence, South Sudan became the 195th country in the world, and the 193rd member of the United Nations. The UN Security Council established the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011 to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan is Mary Catherine (Molly) Phee; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

South Sudan maintains an embassy (update link to: http://www.southsudanembassydc.org/) in the United States at 1015 31st Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20007.

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

Department of State South Sudan Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook South Sudan Page
U.S. Embassy: South Sudan
USAID South Sudan Page
History of U.S. Relations With South Sudan
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports (for 2010, see Sudan)
Trafficking in Persons Reports (for 2011, see Sudan)
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page (see Sudan)
Export.gov International Offices Page
Travel and Business Information