VATICAN CITY –– U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Vatican counterpart Dec. 15, and asked him to support the Obama administration’s efforts to close the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, met with Kerry for an hour, according to Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. Ken Hackett, the U.S. ambassador of the Holy See, was also present at the meeting.

Kerry underscored the “commitment of the United States to close the Guantanamo prison and the desire for the Holy See’s support in the search for appropriate humanitarian solutions for the current detainees,” Father Lombardi said.

The main topic of Kerry’s discussion with Cardinal Parolin was the “situation in the Middle East, and the commitment of the United States to avoid a worsening of tensions and an outbreak of violence, as well as the commitment to promoting a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Father Lombardi told reporters.

Kerry was in Rome as one stop of a European tour dedicated largely to reviving peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome later the same day.  

Fr. Lombardi said the two secretaries of state also touched briefly on other subjects, including the civil war in Eastern Ukraine and the Ebola epidemic.