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Sun 27 May 2007 06:38 PM

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Kuwait switches to Friday, Saturday weekend

The country is changing its weekend to stay in step with other Gulf states.

Major oil producer Kuwait said on Sunday it will change its weekend to Friday and Saturday in line with most fellow Gulf Arab states to have an extra working day with its major trading partners.

Government employees, who make up a large part of Kuwait's workforce, will work from Sunday to Thursday starting from September 1 this year, the cabinet said in a statement.

Public sector offices and most private businesses had been shut on Thursday. Kuwaiti banks already work from Sunday until Thursday, reflecting strong ties with Europe and the United States.

The change would solve many problems with different working days in Kuwait and other countries, Cabinet Affairs Minister Faisal al-Haji told state news agency KUNA.

The major OPEC producer depends on oil exports, particularly to Asia and the United States.

Except for conservative kingdom Saudi Arabia, all other Gulf states have switched working weeks to Sunday-Thursday as their leaders are using oil revenues to diversify their economies and attract investors.

Kuwait is keen to emulate the success of Gulf neighbours Dubai and Bahrain, which have become regional financial centres and popular tourist destinations.

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