A Syrian foreign ministry source on Monday said that Damascus had allowed the import of 10,000 tonnes of apples "which is the produce of Syrian land and owned by Syrians" from the Golan Heights.

   

"In view of the harsh economic conditions under which our kin in the occupied Syrian Golan live and in response to their repeated calls ... it has been decided that (we) purchase 10,000 tonnes of apples that belongs to our citizens in the Golan," the source said.

   

The heights are home to about 20,000 Syrians who stayed after the 1967 Middle East war.

 

UN monitoring

   

Syria is home to an office that oversees the Arab states' implementation of an Arab League resolution to boycott Israel and Israeli concerns worldwide.

   

"Our purpose is to meet the pressing needs of our citizens who are suffering under occupation and to help reduce their suffering"

Syrian Foreign Ministry source

The imports from the Golan Heights would be carried out under the supervision of United Nations personnel monitoring the 1973 Arab-Israeli war frontier, said the source.

   

"Our purpose is to meet the pressing needs of our citizens who are suffering under occupation and to help reduce their suffering," he said.

   

Peace talks between Syria and Israel broke down in 2000 over the future of a sliver of land in the Golan strategic plateau.  

Syria has said it wants to resume the talks with Israel.

   

Israel says it will not resume negotiations until Syria abandons support for Palestinian resistance groups in the occupied territories and Lebanon.

   

Damascus says its support for anti-Israeli groups is merely political.