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.”
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.”