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Egyptian tycoon offers to buy Greek islands for refugees

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram An Egyptian billionaire is currently in talks over the purchase of two Greek islands to help accommodate and settle refugees. The grand act of generosity comes as part of the Aylan Island project, set up by Naguib Sawiris and named after the Syrian toddler found washed up on a Turkish beach.According to a recent statement released by his communications office, Sawiris has “corresponded with the owners and expressed our interest to go into negotiation[s] with them”.If everything goes ahead, the islands purchased by the 61-year-old will remain under the jurisdiction of Greece; though the deal ultimately depends on how many refugees Athens is willing to approve under the country’s laws.In an interview with Newsweek, Mr Sawiris said he had sent letters to both Alexis Tsipras and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi seeking their approval, but had yet to hear back. “I sent a letter saying that I need them to provide me permission to take the refugees there and if they have an island to sell, I am a buyer,” he told Newsweek. “It would help me greatly and what I need from them is the approval to get the refugees there and the administrative support.”The billionaire, whose fortune is worth an estimated $3 billion, has said he is willing to spend up to $200 million for the purchase of the islands, in addition to the joint-stock company he is looking to set-up with a starting capital of $100 million. The project has had a great response thus far, with the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR offering to co-operate on the project, along with a number of investors and volunteers wishing to get on board. “I have got around 10,000 emails,” said Mr Sawiris. “Many people said they would volunteer to come and help me build this city, I have two people saying they want to donate $10 million and so on.”Further to assisting the refugee crisis, Mr Sawiris believes purchasing the islands will assist Greece with its own economic crisis. “I know that the Greek government owns a lot of islands that are uninhabited and they need the money.“It would look good that they are helping a humanitarian idea. It would be saving the EU from a burden and helping to do something [about the refugee crisis],” he said.Source: RTlast_img read more