Kerry to co-chair Libya talks in Rome Sunday

US Secretary of State John Kerry, pictured at the COP21 climate summit in Paris on December 9, 2015, heads to Rome for talks December 13 on helping conflict-torn Libya form a stable, unified government (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan) (POOL/AFP/File)

Paris (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Rome this weekend for high-level talks aimed at helping conflict-torn Libya form a unified government, Washington said Thursday.

Kerry will co-chair the talks on Sunday with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.

The meeting "will demonstrate the commitment of the international community to helping Libyans move forward rapidly to form a unified Libya government, a government of national accord," he said.

Italy, a former colonial power in Libya, called the conference along with the United States, which will also include representatives from Russia, Britain, China and France.

Gentiloni said last week that the one-day meeting aims to give "a decisive push for the conclusion of a deal for a national government in Libya", where the Islamic State group is exploiting the chaos and taking root.

Earlier Thursday, Libya's rival parties met in Tunis for talks on a disputed UN-brokered deal backed by the international community to set up a unity government.

Ambassadors to Libya from several EU countries and the US on Tuesday warned against attempts to derail the UN-brokered deal, insisting it is the only way forward.

Libya has had two competing administrations since August 2014, when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the recognised government to take refuge in the east.

Kerry is in Paris for the UN conference on climate change.