Trump visits France, Syria peace talks
The FT's Vanessa Kortekaas provides a briefing of the key stories to watch, including US President Donald Trump attending France's Bastille Day celebrations with Emmanuel Macron, another round of Syrian peace talks and PepsiCo’s second-quarter results.
Produced by Vanessa Kortekaas. Filmed by Rod Fitzgerald. Edited by Filip Fortuna.
Well, welcome to The Week Ahead from The Financial Times in London. Here's some of the big stories we'll be watching in the coming days. US President Donald Trump heads to France for the Bastille Day celebrations. The seventh round of Syrian peace talks are set to take place in Geneva. And can PepsiCo beat analysts' expectations again. We'll find out on Tuesday.
We'll start in Europe, where US President Donald Trump is set to attend France's Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron invited his US counterpart to mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the First World War. The leaders will attend a military parade on the Champs-Elysees in what will be Mr. Trump's first visit to France since his election.
It also follows a much talked about white knuckled handshake between the two leaders at a NATO summit in Brussels a few months ago. But by inviting Mr. Trump to the Elysees one year after dozens of people were killed in a terror attack in Nice, Mr. Macron is seeking to highlight the two countries' effort to combat Islamist terror. Here's our World News editor Ben Hall with more on what to expect from the visit.
Donald Trump is the guest of honour at France's national day. It's not really a day for deep discussion about policy issues. I think it's a celebration of America's role in France's history and two liberations, essentially-- first of all, in the First World War, and then in the Second World War where American troops played a very important part.
It's important to remember that for all of the anti-Americanism that does exist in France and in the French political establishment, there is still huge respect for America's role in liberating France in these two world wars. So it's a chance for, if you like, Donald Trump to play to the good side of America in France.
And I think that's very useful for Emmanuel Macron, because he is trying to sort of-- probably trying to reset his own relationship with the US president after a fairly frosty aggressive start almost in their first encounter, which was in Brussels. And I think it's also a chance for Macron to present himself in the best possible light.
Now to the war in Syria. Negotiators are set to begin the seventh round of peace talks in Geneva on July 10. These come as parallel Russian-led discussions in the Kazakh capital of Astana have been taking place.
The UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura has said he's hoping to push into political discussions in Geneva for the first time. But previous rounds of preparatory talks made little progress between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels fighting to oust him. The FT's Deputy Editor Roula Khalaf explains what to watch for in the peace talks.
Expectations are very low. These talks have been taking place for a long time. But their aim is not so much to reach peace, because the situation is so messy in Syria.
There are so many players-- internal players, external players. Nobody is really expecting to get to a breakthrough, and, in particular, because there's a major sticking point. And that is the fate of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, there is no agreement on whether he should stay or he should go.
Potentially, the more interesting talks and the ones to watch are the ones taking place in Astana. There are several rounds. There'll be more in the future.
And these talks are between three main international players-- Russia, Turkey, and Iran. They are very involved in the Syrian conflict. And these talks are not aimed so much at finding peace. They're not aimed at a political solution. They are aimed at reducing the level of violence in Syria after six years of war.
And finally, investors will be closely eyeing PepsiCo's second quarter results on Tuesday to see if the food and drinks company can build on its momentum from earlier this year. PepsiCo appears to be successfully adapting to changing consumer tastes and catering to more health conscious customers.
In the first quarter, the company beat analysts' expectations boosted by sales of so-called guilt-free snacks, such as diet fizzy drinks and baked crisps. It also introduced healthier drinks, such as probiotic versions of its Tropicana juices. Anna Nicolaou, our US retail correspondent, has more on how the company is responding to changes in the food and drinks industry.
Pepsi has been doing quite well. They've been outperforming their rivals, like Coca-Cola. The big picture with this whole industry is this shift towards healthier food.
Consumers are demanding it. They want more specific things. And the soda industry, in general, has been on decline for years. So Pepsi, as well as Coke, have been trying to kind of develop new products, diversify away from their trademark soda cans.
And another strategy that's been working for both of them is smaller packages. So you'll see smaller Pepsi cans, smaller Coke cans. And they say it's more of a snack. About half of their sales now are coming from what they call guilt-free snacks, which would be diet sodas, low calorie crackers, things like, that that seem to be performing really well with consumers.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from The Financial Times in London. See you again next time.