An Egyptian Telecoms billionaire has proposed buying a Mediterranean island to shelter refugees fleeing from Syria and other countries.
Naguib Sawiris, who is believed to be worth $2.9billion, announced his idea on Twitter this week.
He tweeted: “Greece or Italy sell me an island, I’ll call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country.”
Greece or Italy sell me an island,ill call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) September 1, 2015
Crazy idea .. Maybe but at least temporary until they can return to their countries ??!!— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) September 1, 2015
He added: “Crazy idea… Maybe but at least temporary until they can return to their countries??!!”
Speaking to AFP later, he said: “Of course it’s feasible. You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees.”
He estimated an island off Greece of Italy could cost between $10-$100million but stressed “the main thing is investment in infrastructure.”
Sawiris admitted the plan has its challenges – including whether Greece or Italy could be persuaded to sell an island, as well as arranging jurisdiction and customs regulations.
But he insisted refugees who came to it would be treated as “human beings”, complaining: “The way they are being treated now, they are being treated like cattle.”
Speaking to CBC on Wednesday he said: “No sane person with integrity would look at the news and decide not to take action.”
Sawiris’ comments come after a week of harrowing events, which have forced the world to acknowledge the scale of the refugee crisis taking place in Europe.
- Tabloids Accused Of 'Sheer Hypocrisy' Over Drowned Syrian Toddler Front Pages
- Aylan Kurdi Named As The Drowned Syrian Boy Who Washed Up On Turkish Beach
- Petition Reaches 100,000 Signatures Needed To Trigger Debate In Parliament
- Heartbreaking Cartoons Capture World's Sadness Over Drowned Syrian Boy
- Tory MP Mocks Woman's 'Pathetic' And 'Trendy Left Wing View' Over Refugee Crisis
- Fresh Attacks On Katie Hopkins' Migrants Column As Refugee Toddler Washes Ashore
- Drowned Syrian Toddler Prompts Graphic And Bold Front Pages
- David Miliband Lauds Germany's Response To The Syrian Crisis
His proposal echoes that of US property tycoon Jason Buzi, who in July announced his solution of a "Refugee Nation" - a brand new country "which any refugee, from anywhere in the world, can call home."
But Buzi's plans were slammed by a former senior advisor to the Australian government, who said the idea is similar to treating refugees like “lepers”.