On Progress in Sudan

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 13, 2017

Six months ago, the United States began a comprehensive engagement plan with the Government of Sudan aimed at ending the government’s offensive military operations, improving humanitarian access, ending Sudan’s destabilizing role in South Sudan, countering terrorist groups, and ending the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Since then, Sudan has met our benchmarks and made significant progress toward these goals, as well as new commitments. As a result, the United States has decided to issue a General License lifting sanctions on U.S. trade and investment in Sudan. This is being done through a combination of actions, including immediate action by the Department of the Treasury to authorize expanded trade with and investment in Sudan, and the issuance by the President of an Executive Order that provides Sudan with a clear path to the permanent revocation of sanctions in six months if progress in these five areas continues. In addition, a number of waivers of statutory sanctions are needed to allow for this lifting of sanctions. Thus, the Secretary of State is waiving sanctions under the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 today, while the Executive Order issued today by the President includes waivers under the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004 and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

Our engagement with Sudan under the plan has had multiple benefits for U.S. interests, the region, and the people of Sudan. It has had a positive effect on reducing conflict and addressing Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. For example, in December, Sudan revised national regulations that govern humanitarian action, bringing them into line with international standards for the first time. Moreover, for the first time in five years, Sudan opened access for humanitarian aircraft to reach Golo, Central Darfur, and allowed a needs assessment to occur that will inform assistance efforts in Golo and other previously inaccessible areas. Regionally, Sudan has stopped providing arms to South Sudanese opposition groups, is cooperating with the United States to address the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and has begun working with the United States to combat wildlife trafficking. Finally, Sudan has become an important partner in countering the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) and other regional terrorist threats.

Despite these advances, there is still much more to be done to end Sudan’s internal conflicts, ensure accountability for crimes of international concern, improve its human rights record, allow unfettered humanitarian access to vulnerable populations, and create space for greater political participation, civil society activity, and media freedom. The United States sees the progress made over the last six months as the beginning of a longer term process of addressing these critically important issues. While the United States stands ready to reimpose sanctions should there be backsliding, we are encouraged by the progress that has been made over the past six months, and will seek to build on this as we pursue important issues.