President F.W. de Klerk said Saturday he will not plead with President Bush this week to lift sanctions on his country and seeks only to explain his reform policies.
"I'm not going hat in hand with the particular objective of getting sanctions lifted," de Klerk said before leaving for the first U.S. visit by a South African leader in 45 years.To protest white-minority rule, most Western nations have placed sanctions on South Africa, including severing air links and limiting trade.
De Klerk said he expected sanctions to be lifted as the South African government moved toward power-sharing.
"I think many people (in the United States) are still looking at South Africa through glasses which they should have discarded by now," said de Klerk, who marked his first anniversary in office on Thursday.
De Klerk's three-day visit includes a scheduled meeting Monday with Bush, whose administration has praised some of de Klerk's reforms.
The last South African leader to visit the United States was Jan Smuts, who attended the formation of the United Nations in 1945. De Klerk made several visits to the United States before becoming president.
De Klerk has been reopening South African ties with Western nations after years of diplomatic isolation. De Klerk made a tour of Western Europe earlier this year.
South African officials hope the visit will convince U.S. leaders of the complexity of the political situation in South Africa and generate more international support for de Klerk's reforms.
De Klerk has been removing apartheid laws and says he wants the 5 million whites to share power with the 30 million blacks under a new constitution.
Although Bush and other U.S. officials have praised de Klerk's efforts, various groups in the United States remain critical of the white-led government. Anti-apartheid demonstrations are expected while de Klerk is in Washington.
Meanwhile, a government official said Saturday the African National Congress bears responsibility for factional fighting in black townships and should stop blaming white authorities.
The comments by Gerrit Viljoen, minister of constitutional development, were typical of the increasingly hostile rhetoric between the government and the ANC since violence broke out last month in black areas ringing Johannesburg. More than 800 people have died in the fighting.
"The ANC and its allies are among the main parties to the conflicts," Viljoen said.
The white-minority government and the ANC, led by Nelson Mandela, began peace talks in May. But relations have been strained by the fighting between the ANC and the rival Inkatha movement.
The ANC and Inkatha, a conservative Zulu organization, both oppose apartheid but differ over tactics and plans for a future South Africa. The ANC has accused government security forces of siding with Inkatha and also has objected to police measures imposed to stop the fighting.
Police have announced a night-time curfew in some areas, set up roadblocks, begun weapons searches and sent reinforcements into troubled areas.
Mandela has said the measures will be ineffective.