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Arab leaders work on peace plan phrasing

The head of the Arab League said Monday that the Middle East was at a crossroads and nations had to choose between justice, peace and progress or "total chaos."

Arab foreign ministers met under tight security to prepare for a summit of heads of state Wednesday that is expected to launch a Saudi proposal demanding Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands in return for full Arab recognition. The ministers were said to be working on phrasing to address the sensitive issue of what to do about millions of Palestinian refugees.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa said challenges include occupation of Arab land, threats of strikes on an unspecified Arab country _ a reference to U.S. threats of military action against Iraq _ and threats to Islamic culture.

"This summit is sensitive because the international and regional situation is so critical, and we as Arab states and societies face an unfavorable situation at this stage of international developments," Moussa said.