Western media reports say Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on July 10 agreed to forward to parliament Sweden's bid to join the NATO military alliance, appearing to end months of drama over an issue that had strained the bloc as war has raged in Ukraine.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning their policies of military non-alignment that had lasted through the decades of the Cold War in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

While Finland's NATO membership was green-lighted in April, Turkiye and Hungary have yet to clear Sweden's bid.  Stockholm has been working to join the bloc at the alliance's summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, which is beginning today.

"I'm glad to announce ... that President Erdogan has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the grand national assembly as soon as possible, and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference, describing it as a "historic" step.

He had convened Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson for several hours of talks on the eve of the summit as he sought to finally break the deadlock.

CNN notes that Erdogan dropping his opposition marks a major step forward, but does not mean that Sweden will immediately become the next member of the alliance. Stoltenberg did not offer a specific timeline for when Erdogan would move the document forward to the Turkish Parliament, which must then vote to approve it.  Hungary also has not voted to approve Sweden’s membership, though Stoltenberg said Monday that Hungary had made clear that it would not be the last to ratify Sweden’s bid.

Erdogan has held out for months, saying Sweden's accession hinged on the implementation of a deal reached last year during the alliance's summit in Madrid and that no one should expect compromises from Ankara.

Turkiye has accused Sweden of not doing enough against people Turkiye sees as terrorists, mainly members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is considered a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the EU and the United States.

The United States and its allies have sought to pressure Ankara for months. Some NATO partners believe that Turkey, which requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes, has been using Swedish membership to pressure Washington on the warplanes.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who welcomed the announcement, is due to hold face-to-face talks with Erdogan during the summit.