The French foreign minister has offered unusual praise for Hillary Rodham Clinton's announcement that she is running for the U.S. presidency.

Clinton is "an exceptional woman for a job that requires exceptional qualities," Laurent Fabius said in a statement and a tweet on Monday. It was a rare show of support from a French official to a candidate for a crucial foreign election.

Fabius, France's top diplomat, met Clinton several times after he became minister in President Francois Hollande's Socialist government in 2012, when Clinton was secretary of state. Fabius praised Clinton's "leadership" and "natural authority" last July during a reception organized in her honor in Paris.

Clinton announced her Democratic presidential bid Sunday.