South Sudan's President Salva Kiir attends a meeting on the cutting of the number of states from 32 to 10, at the State House in Juba, South Sudan February 15, 2020.
Violence exploded in South Sudan in late 2013, two years after it seceded from Sudan, when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, sacked vice president Riek Machar, from the rival Nuer group.
"I assure you that I will not return you back to war again," Kiir said in a speech marking independence day.
On Friday, Pope Francis told South Sudan's leaders they had to do much more to establish peace and promised to visit the country, where violence is still raging in some areas, according to United Nations reports.
Kiir, Machar and other politicians of predominantly Christian South Sudan were hosted at a Vatican retreat in 2019, where, on the last day, Francis knelt at their feet as he urged them not to return to conflict.
Salva Kiir, Pope Francis, Riek Machar, Kiir, Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Jim Wallace, Denis Dumo, Philip Pullella, Omar Mohammed, John Stonestreet
State, REUTERS, South, United Nations, of, Thomson
Juba, South Sudan, Jok, JUBA, Sudan, Rome