The Republic of Sudan has been governed by President Omar Al Bashir, the head of the National Congress Party, since he seized power on 30 June 1989.
Since its independence on 1 January 1956, Sudan has experienced a series of civil wars, including a protracted conflict with then southern Sudan. Following a referendum in 2011, South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011. Since losing three-quarters of its oil production to the South, Sudan has sought to diversify its sources of export income by developing its mining and agricultural sectors. It has recently focused on gold production, and established a gold refinery in Khartoum.
Conflict persists in Sudan, particularly in the areas of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. Armed rebel groups, government forces and local tribal militia remain engaged in violent struggle. The humanitarian situation in these three areas is dire, with millions in need of humanitarian aid and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes by the violence.
The African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in July 2007. The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was established in June 2011 to monitor and demilitarise the disputed border region of Abyei, between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Sudan belongs to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD – an East African bloc); the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Sudan is from the Embassy in neighbouring Egypt.
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