ARUSHA, TANZANIA — Rwanda's government and rebels signed a formal cease-fire agreement July 13 and said they would push for a political solution to the 21-month-old civil war.
"The two parties reaffirm their political will to continue through negotiations the search for a solution to the conflict as well as the problems underlying it," said a joint statement by the two sides of the tiny central African state on Tanzania's western border.
The accord was signed by Rwandan Foreign Minister Boniface Ngulinzira and rebels of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) after three days of talks in Tanzania. The agreement calls for a temporary truce at midnight July 19, with a full cease-fire at midnight July 31. This would be followed by deployment of 50 neutral military observers from Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.
Talks on RPF demands for integration into the national Army, the return home of tens of thousands of refugees, and an RPF role in national politics will start in Arusha, Tanzania, on Aug. 10.
Rwanda's civil war has pitted the rebels, who first invaded from Uganda in October 1990 and whose ranks are dominated by the minority Tutsi tribe, against a national Army dominated by the majority Hutu.
The Tutsi have been battling for the right of their people to return and settle in Rwanda; the Hutu seized power from them in uprisings 30 years ago that killed 100,000 people.