A FRESH row between Britain and Spain threatened to erupt after a serious breach of diplomatic protocol.
It happened when Guardia Civil officers opened and searched an official British Government diplomatic bag as it was being transported by courier across the border from Gibraltar into Spain.
Sealed diplomatic bags are covered by international legal protections and are used to carry official correspondence or other items between a government and its diplomatic, consular or official entities.
Protocol concerning the diplomatic bag is governed by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, it being forbidden for any third party to open them.
The British Government said Spain’s decision to search a UK diplomatic bag was ‘a serious infringement’ of international diplomatic protocol.
In a statement, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it had called on the Spanish Government to look into the incident and ensure it was not repeated.
The incident comes at a time of heightened tension between the UK and Spain over delays at the frontier and Spanish incursions into Gibraltarian waters.