The government has welcomed the decision by South Sudan President Salva Kiir to pardon former SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Colonel William Endley as a gesture of peace.Endley was sentenced to death on February 12 for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government."We extend our gratitude to President Kiir to release one of our own to once again spend time with his family," said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu.She appealed to South Africans who had opportunities to work abroad, to observe and respect the laws of the countries they served.READ: 'It's like a dream come true', says sister about looming release of ex-SANDF colonel jailed in South SudanPresident Kiir announced the release of Endley during the National Peace Celebration, which took place in the capital city of Juba on Tuesday. The National Peace Celebration is an important milestone towards rebuilding trust and committing to finding lasting peace and stability in South Sudan. Endley was expected to be released on Thursday. His sister Charmaine Endley Quinn told News24 on Wednesday that her family was excited to have him back. "It has been two years and two months. It has been a very emotionally draining time for myself and my family. I never imagined this. It's like a dream come true. We are elated by the news and the commitment to the peace process," Quinn said. The latest peace deal that Endley is part of, is an attempt to end a five-year civil war that erupted in December 2013.