The 1902 treaty often referred to a treaty between Ethiopia and Egypt and that this treaty refers to the use of the waters of the Nile. It should be noted that such a treaty between Ethiopia and Egypt did not exist. In fact, the treaty that was discussed was between Ethiopia and Britain. At that time, Egypt was a protectorate of the British Empire and the Egyptian government of the time could not conclude international treaties. Ethiopia claims that there is no legal basis to prevent Addis Ababa from using the waters of the Nile fairly. The obligation imposed by the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1902 did not prohibit Ethiopia from using the waters of the Nile, even without the agreement of Great Britain (now Sudan). But what is forbidden is the total blockage of the entire river from the waters of the Nile. The Nile water treaties were agreements between the British (on behalf of their colonies, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and Egypt. They effectively prevent upstream countries from using Nile water without the consent of downstream countries. This led to a strong Egyptian bias and Egypt is still trying to enforce the treaties today. The fate of these Nile water contracts was the main point of the negotiation.
Upstream states believe that a new agreement should replace treaties, while Egypt insists that any agreement must recognize treaties and that they remain binding. During the race to Africa, control of the source of the Nile was an important colonial destination for the British. Several agreements – including the Nile Treaties – have been put in place to do so. Finally, in the English version of the 1902 treaty, the treaty did not prohibit Ethiopia from using the Nile, but it « obliges » Ethiopia not to stop the Nile. This could be interpreted as requiring not to completely limit river flow. In this case, even the 1902 treaty had a language that supports the use of dams if the flow of water is not interrupted. Ethiopia has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to block the flow of water from the Nile, as its goal is to have a fair and equitable share of the use of the Nile in all riparian countries. Many arguments have been put forward as to why Ethiopia is not bound by the 1902 treaty between Ethiopia and the British Empire. One such reason is that the English and Amharic versions of the treaty were not ratified because the English and Amharian versions did not fit in context.