The United States has apologized to France over the "overzealous" checking of a French minister's diplomatic credentials by a U.S. immigration official.

The U.S. official briefly stopped French Equal Opportunity Minister Azouz Begag at Atlanta International Airport, Georgia, October 13, despite his diplomatic passport. The treatment of the minister, who is of Algerian origin, prompted a French government protest.

Security was tightened at U.S. airports after the 2001 terrorist attacks, but the embassy in Paris said it regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Begag. It said the U.S. official involved has been reprimanded and sent to a retraining course.

Mr. Begag, who was on official business at the time, called the incident regrettable and said, "It's over."

Some information in this story provided by AFP.