Britain says the Palestinian Authority must detain anti-Israel militants as a first step toward ending terrorism in the Middle East.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he has told Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to crack down on militants behind the recent attacks in Israel. "It is now incumbent upon the Palestinian Authority to arrest the people who they know are committing these outrages in Hamas and Hizbolah and Islamic Jihad," he said. "And not just to arrest them, but to ensure that they are effectively detained and if necessary, that there is verification of this detention. That is a first and essential step towards reducing the level of terrorism."

Mr. Straw says Britain shares the grief of Israelis, who have what he called "an absolute right to live in peace, with security."

In a separate statement, Foreign Secretary Straw welcomed the agreement by four Afghan factions meeting in Bonn to form a post-Taleban interim government. "We have come much further, more quickly, towards a stable Afghanistan, than anyone thought possible even a few days ago," said Jack Straw. "The message from Bonn is that the will is there to build a new future. So now are the means, as well."

Mr. Straw called the agreement a "victory" for the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition. He said a stable Afghanistan would improve security for the rest of the world.