NMLA is one of the two insurgent groups that seized control of the northern half of Mali. NMLA and Ansar Dine seized control of the northern half of Mali in March.
In a statement issued, the rebel group said that the council is responsible for the general policy of the state of the Azawad, including defense, security, education, foreign policy and land management. It says the council will promote dialogue and develop relationships with other states and international organizations.
The group announced the leaders of the council, including its president, Bilal Ag Cherif, and vice president, Mahamadou Djeri Maiga.
NMLA said there was a merger with the Islamist rebel group, Ansar Dine, but that the agreement is under review. Ansar Dine wants to impose Islamic law.