obama has an historic meeting in cu cuba you're watching al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha. coming up in the next half hour, hopes for a ceasefire as yemen's warring parties agree in principle to hold peace talks. former vice president is found guilty of murder, rape and pillage. >> reporter: i'm in eastern afghanistan where the afghan
army says it has been pushing back i.s.i.l. forces. behind them they left a trail of brutality and fear the u.s. and cuban presidents have pledged to set aside their decades long differences. obama called it a new day between the two countries. castro was forced to defend the country's human rights. >> reporter: after decades of silence between cuba and the u.s., this. [ ♪ ] >> reporter: a moment most many thought they wouldn't see after more than half a century of animosity, the president being celebrated. there are still deep
differences. the man escorting obama helped stop the u.s. day of pig which was a huge embarrassment. he sent his own message in this guest book paying tribute to a hero writing miss thought. the differences came into sharp focus. asked about political prisoner, castro issued a challenge. >> translation: we talked about political prisoners. give me names. i will release them immediately. >> reporter: he went on to criticise the human rights records of u.s. he says the u.s. falls short a
two-faced approach to human rights. president obama went out of his way to show he didn't take offence. >> but as you heard, the president has also addressed what he views as shortcomings in the u.s. around basic needs for people and poverty and inequality and race relations. we welcome that constructive dialogue as well. >> reporter: the president is going to continue the dialogue, but with opponents of the castro government on tuesday. a senior administration official tells me this is a highly unusual visit for them because, quite frankly, they're not sure what the cuban government is going to do. one big question is will they try to interfere with the presidents meeting of the dissidents. the administration isn't sure. these were meant to send a message that the countries were moving on, but it also sekd to highlight a half century of distrust cannot be washed away,
regardless of how they are half a century of this has had a huge impact on the lives of ordinary cubans of the although relations are improving, the u.s. has yet to lift them fully. cuba depends on food imports and the embargos have led to foot shortages. americans are still prohibited from travelling there and that deprivacy cuba of its biggest potential tourism market. the embargo has also ribtd cuba's abt to develop telecommunications and other supplies have been affected. a professor of social ethics and latino studies. obviously, from all that i've just said, it stands that cuba will benefit from this deal, but what will the u.s. get out of
it? >> definitely any type of reconciliation is beneficial for both sides, for both parties. if we begin to end the embargo, we can begin to export a lot of our products, a lot of our items as well and that would help american farmers in the mid-west specifically. so there is benefits to the u.s. it has been hailed as an historic meeting, but there must be on both sides disappointment and, perhaps, even a feeling of betrayal by, perhaps, those who fled the cuban revolution, like your family, or even those who were involved in the revolution. >> no question about it, particularly in miami where you
have a high concentration of cubans. families have lost a lot, livelihood and identity by coming to the u.s., but you have to remember after 55 plus years, the policy of the embargo has been a total failure. it has not changed anything. even though there is the pain of the past, we'll really need to start thinking about the future and how we build a better and stronger future, one that is at least based on some form of reconciliation just before bomb's arrival, several dissidents were arrested in havana. looking forward, there will be more international scrutiny and attention on cuba's human rights record, do you think the regime will at some point regret making this deal? >> i'm not sure if regret is the right word because definitely they will benefit by the deal
by, as you mentioned earlier, the tourism needed materials. i think once you have developed reconciliation, you do have greater scrutiny going on in cuba and that can help in creating greater human rights, greater openness in the political system and even more democratically types of government and types of activities. so this, i think, is a positive step for more freer and more liberateive and democratic cuba, no question about that. will they regret it? i don't think the people themselves will regret it. listening to the dissidents themselves, they're very happy that we're having this conversation. they're very happy that bomb was in cuba. so they're not the ones feeling betrayed. i think the feelings of betrayal are on the u.s. side.
not on the island. i haven't heard that as we mentioned, thousands, millions, left cuba during and after the revolution, fleeing for their livelies and the repression that occurred there. your family fled cuba. you were raised in the u.s. do you feel any affinity to cuba? would you be temperatured to go back to-- tempted to go back to cuba to reestablish your roots? >> yes. i'm going back there next to do research on a book. i plan to be part of this new reconciliation if i can. i've made overtures to skol lars in cue-- scholars to start a conversation and i believe i will be taking some students with me. i am definitely planning to return to cuba next year.
that's definitely part of my plans. not only for educational purposes, but also to be part of this new cuba, this new beginning of possibilities it's great talking to you. thank you so much for being with us. four gunmen have attacked the e.u.'s military mission in mali's capital. it shows a soldier standing over the body of one attackers. none of its personal have been injured. in november 29 people were killed in bombako a new round of u.n. brokered talks could be held by the end of this month. it is hoped that those negotiations to lead to a ceasefire. >> reporter: as he arrives in the yemen capital, the job ahead for the u.n. envoy staffan de
mistura is not easy. he is trying to convince all sides to end the war and negotiate a political compromise. attempts to strike a deal failed because of groping divisions. houthi rebels will still control the rebel say they are a legitimate authority. the government backed by a saudi- led coalition insists the war will continue until the shia rebels disarm. but on the ground hopes for peace are over shadowed by the fighting. this is a district in the oil-rich p province close to the capital. it has been retaken by pro-government troops. the army says it's waiting for orders to go into here. >> the fashion army has been formed only nine months ago but it has expanded. but it leads the fight. we are making major gains.
>> reporter: the army backed by tribes men is on the offensive which is one of the last remaining rebel-held areas in yemen. the houthis have put up a strong resistance. hundreds of their fighters are holding ground in the mountainous region. >> translation: my unit is advancing. we have retaken this area and broke through enemy lines. >> reporter: fighting also continues in the city of taiz. the government is trying to retake yemen's third largest city on the main highway that links the south to the capital. hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed here. all of this is a reminder of the challenging task facing the united nations envoy russia has asked for an urgent meeting with the u.s. on how to maintain the cessation of
hostilities in syria. moscow has warned it could use force against those who are accused in breaches of pauses in fighting. james bays has more. >> reporter: the syrian government knows that an attack is sometimes the best form of defense and their chief negotiator accused the opposition of delaying tactics and not taking these negotiations seriously enough. he also said on what many believe is the key issue, the president of bashar al-assad, it was not a subject that his delegation were prepared to discuss. >> reporter: are you, and this is the key issue, prepared to discuss the future of president bashar al-assad? >> president bashar al-assad has nothing to do with the syrian indirect talks. the references of our talks do not indicate anything, do not
give any indication whatsoever with regard the issue of the president of the syrian republic. this is something that already excluded from the scene. >> reporter: later at the same podium the u.n. special envoy, staffan de mistura, said he was in a hurry to start discussions about political transition. he said he had raised the issue directly with the ambassador. >> he said he was, i am not revealing a secret, it was premature. i said it was imminent. it is important to start addressing their own understanding. it is clear that the political transition is the model, and no-one has questioned that, nowhere. so we will have to be realistic on that.
>> reporter: a spokesman for the main opposition block, the high negotiations committee, told me bashar al-assad was the main issue and the reason for all the problems in syria. he said if they're not prepared to discuss that, why are they here still to come here on al jazeera. for the love of the game, breaking down barriers with baseball in cuba. ball in cuba.
set aside their decades long differences in an historic meeting in havana. obama welcomed what he called a new day in relations between the two days. but the cuban president was forced to defend its record on human rights. talks could begin by the end in month. the former vice president of the democratic republic of congo has been convicted of war crimes. the international criminal court found him guilty of murder, rape and pillage more than a decade ago. in myanmar aung san suu kyi has been nominated to become a member of the new parliament, but it's still not yet known what her position will be. the parliament has been in session in the capital. the names of 18 new government ministers have been submitted for consideration. n.l.d. won a landslide victory
in the general election last november. a former vice presidential of the democratic republic of congo has been convicted of war crimes. the international criminal court found him guilty of murder, rape and pillage in central african republic more than a decade ago. it is the first time the icc has focused on rape as a weapon of war. as paul brennan reports now from the hague. >> reporter: this is the businessman, senior politician and now a convicted war criminal. his trial had compelling evidence of how his private army known as the mlc waged a campaign of rape, murder and pillage against civilians in neighboring central african republic. >> groups of three or four soldiers invaded houses one-by-one.
they stole all the possessions that could be carried off. and raped the women. girls and elders, regardless of their age. >> reporter: he never actually issued an order to rape and murder, and his defense team insisted that once his militia crossed the border into the car, they were under the command of that country's leadership. in 207 before his arrest, he was interviewed on al jazeera and brushed away questions about the icc. >> reporter: you will know that the international criminal court-- >> no. i'm not, of course, involved in any of these things. >> reporter: yes. they have you in their sights, don't they? >> no. no. that's not true. check your information. >> reporter: there's no question of you ever having to go to the
hague. >> no. >> reporter: nine years later, the icc has found unanimously against him. the five-year trial here at the hague heard chilling details of the cynical, cruel, sexual humiliation of civilian victims by the soldiers under his command. rape was commonplace, there were gang rapes, people were raped in front of relatives. one woman was raped by two soldiers and was later diagnosed with hiv. it was the court's decision to put those sexual crimes at the front and center of the case against him which sets this case as a landmark ruling. he had faced three charges of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity and was found guilty on all five counts. sentencing will be at a later date and he faces up to 30 years in jail, perhaps even a life
sentence if the court considers it is justified by the extreme gravity of the crime. the victims expect it to be a very long sentence indeed in afghanistan the armed group i.s.i.l. halls been fighting to establish itself in the eastern part of the country, but in recent weeks it has suffered serious setbacks as the afghan army reforced them to retreat from territory it has l likelihood for almost a year. -- it has held for almost a year. >> reporter: this was a no go area for the afghan army a few weeks ago. it was the capital for i.s.i.l. in east afghanistan and it was well defended. after weeks of tough fighting, the army and local villagers succeeded in pushing them back. for almost a year i.s.i.l. was in total control here. people have to flee for their lives. this was shut and they made it their headquarters.
on the wall is written their name for afghanistan. not all the pupils have returned because of fear. >> translation: they told us this was part of the infidel, nonbelievers, and they prevented us from learning >> reporter: in the nearby village they were given a more brutal lesson. villagers told us that captured soldiers or anyone who resisted were beheaded or shot. this lady lost two grandsons. >> translation: they cult him to pieces and another has been destroyed. >> translation: if they saw someone shaven, they would beat them badly. if they found an afghan army soldier, they would behead them and put the head on the stomach. they left a note saying it had to be left for a certain time and if anyone removed the body they would receive the same
punishment. >> reporter: the afghan army says i.s.i.l. forces in this area are largely made up of foreign insurgence mostly from pakistan. that's why they say unlike syria and iraq if you have joined. most factions have turned against them. villagers have formed their own militias to protect their district leaving the army to concentrate on other areas. i.s.i.l. is not far away. they still have thousands of heavily armed fighters and they're by no means defeated. >> translation: if the government stands with us, they will not be able to retake this area, but if they don't help us, they could take it tomorrow. >> reporter: the afghan army is stretched and poorly equipped and people here know ultimately their lives are in their own hands u.s. republican front runner donald trump says he will dismantle the nuclear deal if making it to the office.
>> reporter: as an organization promoting israeli interests, aipac has traditionally refrained from partisan politics, especially in a presidential race. donald trump drew his biggest cheers when when he attacked obama over the nuclear deal with iran >> he may be the worse thing to happen to israel. >> reporter: he promised to keep enforcing sanctions against iran for the ballistic missile test itting and the global terror network. as for his previous comments about maintaining neutrality and negotiate between israel oond the palestinians, those were forgotten. the so-called anti establishment candidate spoke to them straight from the republican party handbook, making it clear which side he would protect >> when i become president, the days of treating israel like a
second class citizen will end on day one. >> reporter: on jerusalem. >> we will move the american embassy to the internal capital of the-- external capital of the pupil of jerusalem. we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between america and our most reliable ally, the state of israel. >> reporter: while he attacked hillary clinton as a total disaster, he promised aipac that she would use force if necessary to protect eye rail from iranian attack, but she defended the nuclear deal and without mentioning donald trump by name, she challenged his comments. >> candidates for president who think the u.s. can outsource middle east security to dictators or that america no longer has vital national interests at stake in this
region are dangerously wrong. >> reporter: the approval in audience showed for trump doesn't mean that everyone here would vote for him given the misgivings by many here about his other comments regarding deporting undocumented foreigners and borrowing muslims. it does put a dent in hillary clinton's confidence in winning the over well majority of the jewish vote meanwhile, u.s. democratic presidential hopeful bernie sanders has been outlining his policy proposals for the middle east. in a speech he proposed an end to the war. >> i'm here to tell the american people, and if elected president, i will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to israel, but to be successful we have also got to be a friend not only to israel,
but to the palestinian people. peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of palestinian territory, establishmenting mutually agreed upon border and pulling back settlements in the west bank, just as israel did in gaza once considered an unthinkable move on israel's part as the u.s. and cuba work together to overcome their political differences, both can agree on at least one thing. that is their love of baseball. president obama is rounding up his historic cuba visit in a baseball stadium. as our correspondent reports from havana, this isn't the first case of baseball diplomacy between the two countries. >> reporter: it is the national passion, baseball is cuba's favorite sport and an important
cultural inheritance from this island nation's close proximity to the u.s. but why is it so important that president obama is culminating his historic trip to cuba at the stadium? >> because baseball is what unites us. baseball is what unites us. cuba started playing baseball officially in 1962. >> reporter: baseball as a course for sweetening ties isn't new. fidel castro invited jimmy carter. few forget when chavas went to bad. cuban baseball is in crisis. although this country produces top players, many have defected to join major american leagues where they're paid millions of
dollars. here baseball fans lamb entity this state of affairs. >> translation: the-- lam ent. >> translation: we dream of going to come and go to the u.s. without having to leave on a raft. >> reporter: now they can. two years ago cuba authorized its players to accept contracts abroad and just last week obama lifted another decade old prohibition by making it legal for the first time for cuban players living here to accept contracts be paid and be hired by major league teams. >> reporter: for the first time since the baltimore oriales historic trip to cuba in 1999, a major league team is coming to town. back then it was part of an unsuccessful attempt to bring both parties together. this time a sitting american present will be in the stadium to send a message that the
process is irreversible it's not just baseball at stake. you can read more about the u.s.-cuba ties as well as all the latest news and analysis on our website. the address is on your screen. aljazeera.com. "on target" tonight. are marijuana in america. legalization is paving the way for big business but it also exposes plenty of problems that need to be solved. americans' attitude towards illicit drug use has softened over the years. 23 states have legalized marijuana for use, california, oregon, washington and colorado,