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Fact Sheet
African Affairs
Washington, DC
April 23, 2008

U.S. Sanctions on Sudan

Related Factsheets: U.S. Policy on Sudan | U.S. Response to the Situation in Darfur

The United States is committed to ending the violence and providing assistance to the suffering people of Darfur, as well as ensuring the peaceful democratic transformation throughout Sudan. The U.S. is the largest single donor to Sudan, providing 80 percent of the food distributions by the World Food Program to date and more than $4 billion since 2005 to assist humanitarian, reconstruction, and peacekeeping needs in both Darfur and other regions in Sudan. The United States is working to implement North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to support the development of the Government of Southern Sudan. We are contributing to reducing mortality and to helping over 3.5 million people suffering from violence and deprivation in Darfur.

Along with the African Union and other international partners, the United States led the way in achieving the Darfur Peace Agreement, signed by the Government of National Unity and the rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Mini Minawi on May 5, 2006, in Abuja, Nigeria. The Darfur Peace Agreement represents a historic opportunity to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation in Darfur. Like the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Darfur Peace Agreement is a framework through which to promote peace, stability, and democratic transformation.

In 1993, concern for Sudan’s Islamist links with international terrorist organizations led the U.S. government to designate Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. As such, Sudan is subject to restrictions on foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; a Congressional notification requirement for certain exports of dual use items; directed votes on international financial institution assistance; restrictions on debt reduction; and miscellaneous other restrictions.

On May 29, 2007, responding to Sudanese President Bashir’s continued refusal to honor his commitments to end the violence in Darfur, President Bush ordered the U.S. Department of the Treasury to block the assets of three Sudanese individuals and one company involved in the violence and to sanction 30 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan.

These designations sought to increase the political pressure on Khartoum to end the violence, and supplement sanctions that the United States has maintained on Sudan since 1997. Those sanctions include restrictions on imports from and exports to Sudan, restrictions on financial transactions, an asset freeze against the government of Sudan, and a prohibition on U.S. arms sales or transfers to Sudan. Additionally, with United States leadership, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1672 (2006) which requires states to apply targeted sanctions in the form of a travel ban and asset freeze on four specific individuals responsible for impeding the peace process and committing heinous crimes against the people of Darfur. In resolutions 1556 (2004) and 1591 (2005), the Council also imposed a partial arms embargo which prohibits arms transfers to the Government of Sudan in Darfur and to all non-governmental persons operating in Darfur wherever they are located.

The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on a total of seven individuals and more than 160 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan or linked to militia. The individuals have widespread involvement in Darfur, and have been linked to violence, atrocities, and human rights abuses in the region. Among other things, the sanctions are intended to increase pressure on all parties to end the violence in Darfur.

In October 2006, President Bush signed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (DPAA) underscoring U.S. economic sanctions on the Government of Sudan, but also lessening restrictions on the Government of Southern Sudan and the geographic areas of Southern Sudan, Darfur, the Three Areas, and some IDP camps in and around Khartoum.

On December 31, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which authorizes State and local governments to divest from companies doing business in named sectors in Sudan.

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