The Obama administration is eyeing a rapprochement with Sudan, a nation long designated a state sponsor of terrorism. The country's leader has been indicted on war crimes charges.

While significant changes in U.S. policy toward Sudan are not likely to happen soon, the State Department on Tuesday welcomed Khartoum's counter-terrorism cooperation. The statement said Sudan in recent months had taken "important steps" to take on the Islamic State group and other extremist organizations. It added that the U.S. would work with Sudan on security matters while continuing to press it on human rights and democracy issues.

The statement came amid a push from U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel that have urged Washington to end its treatment of Sudan as a pariah.