Taking place in Nouakchott, Mauritania for the first time ever, the 27th Arab League Summit opened Monday, highlighting the severity of the various crises taking a toll on peoples' lives in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

Here are 12 things you need to know about the summit, chaired by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz:

1. Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Arabia's King Salman did not make an appearance at the summit

2. Neither did Jordan's King Abdullah II or Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

3. Neither did the leaders of Tunisia or Algeria

4. Lebanon's health minister, Wael Abu Faour, described the host country as "miserable" comparing this year's venue, a tent, to those held previously at five star hotels

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Abu Faour later clarified that his statements were not attacking the people of Mauritania, according to Washington Post.

5. The summit was originally planned to take place in Morocco on March 29

6. Regional leaders who attended expressed support for a French-sponsored international peace conference to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Israel has rejected the initiative .

7. Arab leaders opened the summit with a pledge to "defeat terrorism"

8. Lebanon's prime minister, Tammam Salam, suggested the establishment of safe "refugee zones" inside Syria to be overlooked by an Arab commission

9. The summit was initially set to be a two-day event; however, it was cut back to just one day


10. There are 22 member nations of the Arab League, which was founded in Cairo in 1945

These countries include Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and the UAE.

11. The first summit was held in 1946 in Cairo, attended by all 13 of the then-member states

Photo source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

Including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait and Algeria.

12. Other countries that have hosted include Morocco (1965), Sudan (1967), Saudi Arabia (1976), Iraq (1978), Algeria (1988), Lebanon (2002), Syria (2008), Qatar (2009) and Libya (2010)