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. While the English version was eventually signed by the British Empire, the Amharic version of Emperor Menilik was retained. In fact, the emperor was so worried about the context that he sent his Swiss advisor Alfred Ilg to add details in the English version. Ilg was never able to insert these details. Subsequently, Ras Tafari worked to obtain clarification on this treaty, but when the Italians invaded Ethiopia, efforts were frozen. In the 1950s, the Ethiopian government officially rejected the treaty, with Britain repeatedly violating the terms of the agreement by supporting the 1936 Italian invasion. Only one of the articles, Article III of that 1902 treaty, dealt with the use of Nile water. The English version, as verified by Great Britain, was as follows: “His Majesty Emperor Menilik II, King of the Kings of Ethiopia, undertakes to His British Majesty`s Government not to construct or to have built works on the Blue Nile, Lake Tana or Sobat which would stop the river from their waters, except as agreed with Her British Majesty`s Government and the Government of Sudan. However, the Amharian version did not require Ethiopia to obtain permission from the British government. This is terribly similar to the misrepresentation of Ethiopia`s position under the Treaty of Wuchale, which led to the Battle of Adowa.
The 1902 treaty was designed primarily to define the borders between Ethiopia and Sudan. At that time, Sudan was under British rule. This treaty took many years to design and negotiate, and while borders for countries were the main reason for the treaty, it was not the Nile or the use of Nile water. 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. According to the scientists who studied this agreement, Ethiopia has valid and natural rights over the waters of the Nile. Rights of Ethiopia”.
in a certain part of the waters of its own territory are undeniable… This fact would be enough to invalidate the agreement, which has no equivalent in favor of Ethiopia. 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. Image source: Tsehai Publishing and Selamta Magazine….