WASHINGTON -- The administration has accredited South Africa's ambassador-designate, even though relations between Washington and the minority-ruled government 'remain troubled,' a State Department spokesman says.
Ambassador-designate Herbert Beukes presented copies of his credentials to Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead at the State Department.
Beukes will later present his credentials to President Reagan in a traditional White House ceremony marking his official designation as ambassador.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Monday that the formal ceremony has not been scheduled but that Beukes will function as an ambassador and enjoy the privileges accorded the post.
'The decision to accept Mr. Beukes' credentials at this time reflects our views that the gravity of the domestic situation in South Africa and continuing regional violence mandate that the United States utilize all possible channels of communication,' Redman said in a prepared statement.
Beukes had no comment as he left the State Department after the meeting.
Beukes was designated ambassador in April, but the administration has delayed the normal pro forma presention of his credentials as a signal of displeasure with the white minority government's racial policies.
During a period of especially strained relations between the two governments, U.S. Ambassador Herman Nickel was recalled from Pretoria for consultations. His return two weeks ago figured in the decision to fully accredit Beukes.
'Our relations with South Africa remain troubled,' Redman said.
'Events in South Africa, increased violence in the region - including South Africa's military involvement in Angola and violations of the Nkomati (agreement) -- are issues of deep concern and are at the center stage of our diplomacy in South Africa,' he said.
The U.S.-backed 1981 Nkomati pact, signed by South Africa and neighboring states, was intended to bring peace to the region. The administration has complained that South African raids into neighboring countries have threatened the accord.