The Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said on Monday it was negotiating the purchase of two islands in Greece in order to install thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and other conflict areas.
The wealthy businessman had proposed in early September in Greece and Italy to buy them one of their islands with the aim to accommodate migrants. “I will provide them jobs through building their” new country “,” had he said on his Twitter account.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 430,000 people, including Syrians, fleeing poverty or conflict in their country of origin have crossed the Mediterranean in the hope of joining Europe. Nearly 2,800 died or disappeared, according to the International Organization for Migration.
“I have identified two islands in Greece (…) and I’m currently in contact with their owners. We are ready to negotiate with them on condition that the Greek Government agrees to accommodate the largest possible number of refugees, “Sawiris said in a statement Monday on Twitter.
“We await the green light from Greece to launch the administrative procedures for the arrival of refugees,” he added.
Mr. Sawiris said he would meet with representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss possible means of cooperation.
According to him, an island would bear the name of Aylan, referring to the small Syrian boy drowned at sea and whose body lying on a sandy beach in Turkey had moved the world.