By Alex Balimwikungu and Henry Mukasa UGANDA and the DR Congo have restored full diplomatic relations 15 years after they severed them. Congos newly-posted envoy Jean Charles Okoto Lulakombe presented his credentials to President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe on Monday. Ugandas ambassador to Kinshasha Maj. James Kinobe reported to his station in March and presented his credentials to President Joseph Kabila. The relations suffered when the UPDF entered the Congo in 1997 in pursuit of ADF and NALU rebels holed up in the east of the country. Yesterday, the neighbours toasted to a new chapter at a reception hosted by Ambassador Okoto at Serena Hotel, Kampala on Monday evening. State minister for foreign affairs Okello Oryem, who was the chief guest, said the relations were bound to improve when Congo, late last year, let Uganda hunt down LRA rebels in Garamba Forest. It isnt surprising that the two countries are exchanging ambassadors, after a lull of 15 years, Oryem said. For Uganda and the DRC to exchange ambassadors presents a new dawn. The diner hosted in the exquisite Serena main hall was spiced by wining, dining and dancing. Local artiste Joanita Kawalya and a Congolese band with Mutuashi dance icon Tshala Muwana entertained the guests. Other VIPs in attendance were the special presidential adviser on military affairs, Salim Saleh, Elly Karuhanga, the Seychelles consul and several African diplomats. They all joined the dance floor after a sumptuous dinner. We are brothers. Days of intrigue between the countries are gone. We pledge unreserved co-operation and assistance, Oryem stated. We should take advantage of this momentum for the benefit of the people of both countries. On his part, Okoto said Uganda and the DR Congo had wasted time in the past. There is time for war and peace. Now is the time to promote business because of guaranteed security in the DR Congo, he said. Museveni and Kabila met at Mpondwe border post in Kasese on March 3 and agreed to normalise relations. This was after Congo in 1999 sued Uganda in the International Court of Justice for plunder and Uganda was ordered to pay $10b in reparations. Museveni has met Kabila several times to iron out differences. One such meeting was in September 2007 in Arusha where the two leaders signed the Ngurdoto pact. Congo agreed to flush out LRA rebels from Garamba. The two presidents again met last May in Dar-es-Salaam over the disputed border of Rukwanzi Island.