Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has held an informal meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome.

The meeting took place before dinner, hosted by the Italian Foreign Ministry at Villa Madama.

It was attended by foreign ministers of 36 countries along with the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Discussions focused on the political and humanitarian crisis in Syria, as well as other issues of global and regional importance.

Mr Kerry is on an 11-day tour of Europe and the Middle East.

This is his first official trip since taking office earlier this month.

The meeting was the Tánaiste's first formal engagement with Mr Kerry.

Mr Gilmore and Mr Kerry agreed to meet in Washington DC during the St Patrick's Day celebrations.